A happy return for Dave
Wed 29th November 2017 | Eccleshall | By Ian Templeman
Eccleshall manager Dave Dale is placing his faith in youth, as he looks to steer his young squad up the First Division table.
Dave came back to Pershall Park at the start of the season as a first team coach, before taking over as manager in October when Paul Snape stepped down.
The move brought him back on familiar territory, as he was manager at Pershall Park a few years ago before going on to have a spell in charge of Stone Dominoes, when they were in the Premier Division.
Since then, he has been a development coach at Evo-Stik League side Newcastle Town, helping with the youth team and the reserves, and he also worked with the Midlands youth county side for a year and a half.
Now, back in our First Division once again, Dave says he is happy with the way his young squad have responded since he took over.
"We have started to pick up a few decent results and play a little bit better", he said. "The lads have got ability but most of them haven't played at this level before, apart from Jack Warren, who was at Barnton and was with me first time round when he was a young lad.
"Some of them lack a bit of knowledge about where, when and how to play, but they have started to pick up on that, they are working hard and they are getting there.
"Young lads will make mistakes, and there's nothing wrong with making mistakes or failing, providing you learn from it and put the failure and mistakes right. When they are young they tend to take longer to put failure and mistakes right.
"Older lads understand when to go long, or put the ball in the trees, whereas younger lads want to keep it on the grass and play and sometimes you can't always do that in this league".
Having managed in the league previously, and now returning after a number of years away, Dave is well placed to make a judgement on how the league looks in comparison to a few years ago, and he believes that overall it is stronger than before.
"I think the last time I was in this league, there were three or four good sides near the top, some poorer sides near the bottom, and a lot of others that were similar", he said.
"I think this time, there are more teams in the league that can win it on their day than there was before, when you could pretty much predict what was going to happen.
"Now I think you get more results where, on the day, if a team isn't on their game they'll lose.
"There are still four or five teams that are good sides at the top, the likes of Silsden, Prestwich Heys, Alsager and Whitchurch, but if you are not on your game, teams at the other end will nick points.
"So I think overall, the standard is a bit better now than it used to be".
However, despite his recognition that the league is a tough learning ground for young players, Dave insists he won't be tempted to ditch youth for experience.
"You are always looking for that other player who can make a difference out on the pitch, but we've got the opportunity to coach young lads through. We have a club that will give us the time to do it, so why not do it.
"If they stay with us I think their second year with us will be a far better season for them. You have to trust the people you have got and if you feel they are half decent then you should work with them.
"One of my sore spots is too many managers don't want to put faith in young players, they don't want to know.
"But then what I call the "wallet managers" come in with money, who don't want to coach young players to a level, they wait until they reach it under someone else, offer them money and away they go.
"You don't blame the players for wanting to step up, but it's very frustrating and it's something that we at Eccleshall have to try and deal with. We don't want to be used as a preparation ground for teams that just come and cherry pick.
"Development of our squad is coming along steadily, and that will continue".
Meanwhile, Dave has some thoughts in mind as to how he wants the rest of the season to progress.
"Where do we want to be in the league? We'd like to be where - first of all - people say "We're playing Eccleshall, they are a good side who get the ball down and play, so they will be tough to beat". That's the first thing we want.
"With that will come results, and we will be very happy if we are upper mid-table, that would be a great place to finish for us this season. A win would put us only a few points away from that now.
"Consistency wise, we are probably about five out of ten in getting to that, technically wise I think on our day we are there.
"I think we proved that when we played Sandbach and Carlisle at home, and played well at home to Whitchurch and were unlucky to lose 2-0.
"I don't think we are many miles away - it's just that consistency we need, and that only comes with experience".