Wolves coach aiming high
New Wolves head coach Mark (Burger) Jennings thinks a top four or five finish is within his team's capabilities this season.
Jennings, in charge of the team this season after he and Leroy Wilson took over late last season following the departure of Don Vickers, is confident the team can improve on last season's final position which saw them just miss out on Dudley Eve qualification.
But he is stressing the “one game at a time” approach to his players and not looking any further than tonight's away fixture against a Somerset team that has leaked 21 goals in four league and cup games already this season.
In their second year in the top flight Wolves started their campaign with a surprise 3-0 win over PHC before going down 1-0 to Jennings' former club Hamilton Parish last weekend.
Jennings knows Wolves must capitalise on the Trojans' early problems.
Losses of 6-3, 4-1, 6-1 and 5-1 so far must be cause for great cause for concern for new Trojans coach Danny Seymour who only returned to coaching this season after many years out of the game.
“The guys are in a good place, we're playing much better as a unit, we've had great numbers at practice and the team morale is good and we're looking to go to Somerset and hopefully capitalise and try to get maximum points,” said Jennings.
Last October, Wolves suffered a 4-2 loss away to the Trojans, trailing 2-0 before fighting back to 2-2 only to lose through two late Dion Stovell strikes.
“We're looking to go there and still produce a good level of play like we did in the first two outings and finish well,” said Jennings. “Hopefully we can capitalise on a good start and get sufficient points in this half which will put is in a respectable place so hopefully we don't miss out on that Dudley Eve spot for next season.
“That's a goal of mine, to at least compete for the Dudley Eve next season, and to get the players playing at a higher level, now that we're getting more technical with the players.”
Jennings is being assisted at Wolves by Jared Peniston who has wound down his career as several youngsters begin to break through from the PDL team. “I think the players this year are analytically more stable in terms of knowing their roles and that has helped us a great deal,” said the coach.
“We're looking to take one game at a time but with the group I've got we're looking to finish in the top four or five. We're not trying to go straight to the top from the beginning but the team we have has the potential to finish that high.
“We're working hard as a team trying to reach those goals and I reiterated to the guys over and over that we need everybody because we could pick up injuries.
“We have a squad of 24-strong and have the veteran players like Vince Minors who has stepped up, Des Simons, Shakai Pearman, Troy Tucker and Russ Ford. Jared has pretty much retired and is now putting back in with coaching.
“I was with the team the last four games last season when “Curly Joe” took over as head coach and I was assisting him.”
Wolves have a win and a loss from their first two matches with newly promoted Hamilton Parish leading the tables with maximum points. Somerset and PHC are two of four clubs with two losses from their opening matches.
“I feel we can capitalise on some of the misfortunes of the other teams and I'm looking forward to Christmas and looking back to see where we're at,” said Jennings. “And if we can do pretty good in any of the cups that will be a bonus. The main thing is to be stable in league play. I want to make sure we belong in this league first of all.”
One player who Wolves will miss for the time being is strike Derrick Brangman who is training with the national cricket team. That's his priority at present.
“He came to a few sessions and said they wanted the players to play cricket and not football but I told him he should respect that and do what is right,” explained Jennings.
“I like to see guys take hold of one sport and do well in it. Playing for your country is a good opportunity to see the world and also play at a higher level. He's doing well in cricket so why not take advantage of that.”
The Somerset-Wolves match begins at 9pm and will follow a First Division encounter between Somerset Eagles and BAA.
Another First Division match tonight sees Robin Hood taking on X-Roads at Goose Gosling Field.
Tomorrow's four matches will see leaders Parish travelling to St John's to meet Dandy Town in what should be an interesting match-up.
Champions Devonshire Cougars are at home to the other promoted side, St David's, who are still seeking their first points, while Southampton Rangers welcome North Village to the Oval and Flanagan's Onions host PHC at Goose Gosling Field.
In the First Division, joint leaders Devonshire Colts and St. George's Colts are away to Paget and Ireland Rangers respectively as they seek their third straight win while Boulevard play Young Men's Social Club at Police Field.