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Denkins insists Town are not getting carried away after unbeaten start

Dandy Town's Kamali Davis keeps Jibri Salaam of Devonshire Colts at arm's reach while Seion Darrell offers support just in case during last weekend's match at Police Field (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Aaron Denkins couldn’t have asked for a better start to his reign as head coach of Dandy Town, as he prepares for Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash with PHC, the other unbeaten side in the Premier Division.

Town, with six straight wins, are close to matching the unbeaten start by Robin Hood last season when they won eight of their nine league games before the season ended in early December because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

PHC represent their biggest test so far, as Denkins stresses that “every game is like a final” and that the big challenge will come during a hectic Christmas-New Year’s schedule, when they play three games in five days on December 27, 29 and January 1.

“The way we’re approaching every game is, with the added motivation of Jahtino’s [Richardson-Martin] passing, that every game is a new game and every game is a final for us and we want to win every game,” Denkins said.

Town presently lead PHC by seven points, though the Zebras have a game in hand. These two sides are also the top scorers, with 16 goals apiece, while only conceding three and five respectively.

“The season is really early, there are a lot of matches to go, and we’re preparing for PHC like we have prepared for every other game,” Denkins stressed.

“They are an opponent and we’re not paying any more attention to them than we did any other team … or their position. The way the league is going right now, yes it is a small gap but it is tight underneath us and anybody who gets on a run could easily be closer to us.”

After PHC, just three points separate six teams from St George’s in third on ten points to North Village and Robin Hood on seven points. By the start of the second half in early January, the standings could look completely different.

“The thing that we’re really preparing for are the busy Christmas games when we play on the 27th and 29th,” the coach said.

“We’re trying to make sure we’re healthy, we have the depth and we have the quality to get through that difficult week. That’s going to be a real test for us and for everybody.”

Town won the last of their eight league titles in 2015-16. Could this be the year they win a ninth title in Richardson-Martin’s memory?

“The game is about the players and I’m there to help them be successful,” Denkins said. “They are doing all the work.

“I’ve been a part of the programme in this my fourth season now, and we’ve always had a coaching staff. This year is my turn to be in charge of the coaching staff.

“We have the senior players, middle players and young players and the depth of the team is good and how they are responding to the adverse situations this season is pretty amazing to me,” Denkins said, referring to Richardson-Martin’s recent passing.

“Our toughest game, ironically, was the X-Roads game because that was our first game after Jahtino passed. Emotionally the team really had to pick themselves up to play that game.

“That game was when I realised that football can heal people. The main thing is to keep everybody focused and fit.”

Denkins added: “PHC bring something the other teams haven’t brought. They are a well coached, well organised team that has experience and youth.

“They have Antoine Russell with experience, Enrique Russell with youth and the captain, Marco Warren, with his experience so it will be a good test. Again, every game is a final and we’ll treat it as such.”

Meanwhile, Sunday’s match between Somerset Eagles and Southampton Rangers has been switched from White Hill Field to Southampton Oval and will be a Rangers home match. The return fixture on April 10 will be at White Hill.

Higher up the table, third place will be at stake with St George’s having a bye this weekend. Devonshire Colts, fourth, meet Robin Hood on Saturday night at Goose Gosling Field (9.00).

Colts will be without defender Zuhri Burgess who dislocated his shoulder in the Town loss last weekend. The muscles around the AC joint are distressed and inflamed but Burgess is hoping to be fit to return by Boxing Day.

In other Sunday matches, Somerset host X-Roads, who have suffered successive 3-2 home losses, while North Village take on Devonshire Cougars at Bernard Park.

Only one First Division match will be held, with Paget playing Young Men’s Social Club on Sunday at Southampton Oval. The match was postponed on November 21.

The match between Boulevard and Ireland Rangers, which was postponed on Sunday, has been rescheduled for December 15 at Goose Gosling Field.

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Published December 10, 2021 at 7:58 am (Updated December 10, 2021 at 7:53 am)

Denkins insists Town are not getting carried away after unbeaten start

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