Tuesday 27th April 2004

My players will compete with the better players next season, says Jenkins

HAVING joined the club as a player in 1993, Cray Wanderers manager, Ian Jenkins, has enjoyed two years of constant success, and he is now looking forward pitting his wits in a higher level of football, writes Stephen McCartney.

Speaking after the 3-1 victory at Hayes Lane over Hythe Town, that saw his side win the Go Travel Kent League Premier Division for the second year running, the Sidcup based manager, admitted: "Tonight was a very professional and good performance.  It's great to retain the championship, that's the hardest thing to do.  When you win the league you have to go next year, with everyone up to beat you.  

"To win it with two games left is great - the players deserve it, it's all about the players tonight, fantastic!" he praised.

Jenkins, who has clocked up a total of 408 appearances for the club,  praised utility player Andy Silk, for his support both on and off the pitch.  The builder, said of the former Bromley player, and   postman: "Andy Silk had a fantastic start to the season and will probably be my manager's player of the year, if I had to pick one.

"He has been fantastic for me, not just on the pitch, but off it and around the dressing room.  He is the club-man, he has been fantastic and he is also a good player." he thanked

Jenkins praised Hythe Town for the way they competed for the entire ninety minutes and didn't lie down, as they tried to extend their impressive record of ten straight league wins.

He added: "I thought Hythe done really well, they've come here and didn't want us to win, which was great.  It's a credit to the Kent League really.

"Same as Lordswood last year when we beat them to win the league - they didn't lie down, they came here to stop us winning the league.

"All credit to Hythe and their manager - they came here today and could have got something out of the game."

When the going gets tough, Cray's players always seem to roll up their sleeves and prepare for the battle.  They have scored in all of their thirty-two league games, and entertain their fans with their free-flowing football.

Jenkins said: "That's credit to the players.  They've turned it around.  When you are over on the bench you can't do anything about it when the game is going on.  It's down to the players."

So as Cray prepare for next season, hopefully in the new look non-league set up, Jenkins admitted he is looking forward to the challenges of managing in a higher league.

"Hopefully we will go up.  These boys can compete with the better players, and they will.  A few alterations and a few new players, I think we will be allright next year." he promised.

He revealed: "I will be here if we go up, definitely, if the chairman still wants me!  I am looking forward to next season, with people like Joe Francis (assistant manager) mixing it again in a higher league."

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