Results not matching performances for Daisy Hill
Wed 30th August 2017 | Daisy Hill | By Ian Templeman
Despite picking up just two points from their opening four league games, Daisy Hill manager Craig Thomas believes that his squad is shaping up well for the season ahead.
Craig insists that in two away draws, and two narrow home defeats when reduced to ten men, his side demonstrated that they have what it takes to be competitive in Division One.
However, with a young side comprising mainly local players and needing additions over the summer following the loss of key players, Craig is realistic about setting targets for his squad.
“Myself and my management team feel that this is going to be our biggest managerial challenge to date, in a competitive season filled with teams with solid financial backing”, he said.
“It’s no secret that Daisy Hill have limited funds, and will need to rely on good solid local recruitment and team spirit from local talent.
“One of the plus points from last season is that our young players have gained a full season of experience, and should kick on this year.
“Every season I feel we punch above our weight and we hope to do that again this season. Every fan loves an underdog and that is us this season, so let’s see what we can do”.
Up to last Saturday, Daisy suffered two 2-1 defeats (at home to Abbey Hulton United and Sandbach United) and but picked up points from two draws away from home - 0-0 at Cheadle Town and 1-1 away to Bacup Borough.
But Craig believes that with a bit of luck, the points total could have been much higher.
“In both defeats, the side were depleted to 10 men in both games, and in both we could have easily gone on to win.
“So we feel a bit hard done by after going down to late winners, which was cruel for the efforts the players put in with one man down”.
Given that the squad has had to be revamped over the summer, following the departure of some key players, Craig feels that the inevitable settling in period is now over, and he is looking for an improvement in results in the coming weeks.
“Reflecting on last year’s campaign, the main areas for development were to develop our strength in depth in defence, be harder to be beat by conceding less, and to improve on fitness.
“Going down to ten men in both games we lost at least highlighted that the fitness levels have been good, meeting our target from the summer.
“Goal scoring was a success last season with Ashley Stott scoring 43. Losing our star striker meant that pre-season we had to make sure we had the power to score the goals we have lost with Ashley moving on.
“The additions of Alex McPolin from City of Liverpool and Jordan Prescott on loan from Clitheroe should give us the chance to start scoring consistently, and we feel it is only a matter of time before the team begin to gel. Our defence is strong and has depth and keeping 11 on the pitch will help.
“The team is slowly but surely coming together but admittedly is still in transition, with our forwards trying to find the right combinations, as we haven’t been able to put the same team out in each game.
“We are also hoping that Daniel Gregory can have a good season now he has recovered from illness. Daniel played the last 10 games of the season scoring 13 goals, showing the form of yester year.
“Daniel is well known to the league and is a former league golden boot winner, and is due back in a couple of weeks.
“He has had testing times with injury, and also completes a lot of charity work outside of the club. We hope Daniel with a clean bill of health can now kick on and show glimpses of what the league have seen before already, when he was a feared forward.
“All we need now is for it all to click up front and we can hit the ground running”.