Play Off target for new Town boss
Wed 30th November 2016 | FC Oswestry Town | By Ian Templeman
New FC Oswestry Town manager Michael Barton has hit the ground running since taking charge of first team affairs a few weeks ago.
Saturday’s win at Atherton LR was Town’s fourth in succession, and moved them to within two points of a play-off place, but while others might have been surprised at the recent successes, Michael has believed in his squad’s ability from the moment he stepped up from goalkeeping coach to take over the managerial reins.
“As I was already in the club, I knew the players and didn’t have to come in and learn about them”, he said.
“I knew we had a good side and you don’t normally come in and take over a good side, but that is what I’ve done.
“I have added to the squad, as I felt I knew what the team needed. We needed a bit of width, which we have sorted, and I’ve changed the formation round at times too”.
It’s not often over the years that a manager has taken charge of a team in the NWCFL having never played or managed in England, but that is the case with Michael and he is enjoying getting to grips with experiencing new grounds and new clubs.
“I’m an Oswestry lad managing my local team, and I’m really pleased to have been given the opportunity, but I’ve never played or managed in England up to now”, he explained.
“All my football up to now has been in Wales. I’ve managed Welsh Premier League side Caersws, and in the Cymru Alliance, and the League itself reminds me of the Cymru Alliance which I spent a lot of time in, I think it’s very similar to that.
“I think the organisation side of it is very good, I’ve been impressed with some of the grounds we have been to, their facilities and standards, and the refereeing too. So far I have had nothing but favourable impressions.
“It’s been a great experience so far, and long may that continue”.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Michael believes the next few weeks should give a clearer indication of how his side are shaping up.
“We are targeting the play offs, and we have won four in a row which has put us in touching distance of them now.
“In other leagues you are stuck in mid-table with nothing to play for, so I think the play offs in this league is a great idea.
“We looked at it when I came in and the fixtures we had, and we did feel that we should be picking up the number of points we have done, come early December.
“From there, we play three of the top six in December so it could all turn round. We are not getting carried away, we know it could turn around quickly.
“But we’ll be going into those games full of confidence, as we are on a good run. At Atherton LR on Saturday we just ground out a 1-0 win with the one good chance we had, and we had six players missing so I was more than happy. We had to battle hard, but I think we just about deserved it.
“I said to the lads afterwards they have given me one hell of a headache for next week, as the boys who came in from the reserves have done fantastically well.
“We are a young side, but I do have two experienced players in mind that we are looking to bring in, and that could help us push on a little bit further.
“I’m ambitious, I want to move up to the next league and the lads know that is our target”.