Canterbury City joint-boss Ben Smith: If we finish in the bottom half of the table then it will be a disappointing season, end of story!

Monday 13th July 2015

CANTERBURY CITY joint-manager Ben Smith says he is searching for improvement this season, although they will be battling against some rivals club’s splashing the cash.

The club have lost heavily to two Ryman League Division One South sides so far this summer, losing 5-3 to Sittingbourne, followed by a 5-0 defeat to Hythe Town on Saturday morning.

But Smith, who left his coaching role at Herne Bay to team up with Ada Gower at Canterbury City, is refusing to panic at this early stage.

“We have played two friendlies so far against Ryman League Division One South opposition and although we have conceded 10 goals, we have certainly not disgraced ourselves,” Smith told the club’s new Facebook page.

“Against Sittingbourne, individual errors cost us dearly but there was plenty of positives to take out of the game with some periods of real dominance against a tough side.

“Then, moving onto the Hythe game, at 60 minutes we looked to be matching them and defending well, showing the solidity and excellent defensive shape that let us down against Sittingbourne, but again individual errors crept in and we somehow lose the game 5-0, which shows the class of Hythe to be honest as they were ruthless as the game wore on, punishing any mistakes.”

Smith added: “Overall, we have had two strong work-outs where we have had a chance to look at around 25 players and it is pleasing to see that we have held our own and had dominant spells in these games.

“It is now important that we stop showing the naivety that cost us in these games and learn from this as pre-season is there to look at players, formations, improve fitness levels and prepare mentally for when the season starts.

“I am confident that we will learn from this as the players’ attitudes has been excellent.”

Canterbury City play at Sittingbourne’s former Bourne Park ground on Wednesday (7:15pm) - to play Kent County League Division One East side Bredhurst Juniors.

Smith revealed: “This will be the last game for trialsis to make an impression before we cut the squad number.

“On the player front we will be retaining some players from last season and of course building to this but it has to be the right players for the right reasons and we are progressing nicely on this front, without announcing names.

“One piece of news we will give you is that Dan Lawrence has agreed to re-sign for the club after finishing the season at Ramsgate.

“Whilst there were a lot of clubs in both our league and the league above keen to get his signature, he is excited by our vision for the next few seasons and after seeing him in action against Sittingbourne, it is a major coup to be able to name him as club captain for the new season.”

Canterbury City will be sharing Homelands Stadium and playing their home games on a 3G artificial pitch and with it will come expectation.

The club finished in 12th place in the Southern Counties East Football League table last season, while landlords Ashford United finished runners-up.

Smith said: “In terms of our aspirations for the season, we find ourselves in a league where there are a few clubs that are trying to buy their way to promotion, so we have to be realistic when it comes to setting targets.

“In an ideal world we enter a league to win it, but due to the budgets being used by some we are starting with a slight disadvantage.

“In terms of position, if we finish in the bottom half of the table then it will be a disappointing season, end of story!

“I will not put pressure on the players or management team by saying a specific position as that doesn’t do anyone any good but we will certainly look to progress on the previous league positions.”

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