I'm after quality over quantity, says newly-appointed Crockenhill manager Liam Kelly
CROCKENHILL’S newly-appointed manager Liam Kelly admits to facing a difficult first game in charge of the club.
The Crocks finished third-from-bottom in the Kent Invicta League last season and open their pre-season campaign with a home game against Ryman League Division One South side Sittingbourne on Saturday.
Kelly was appointed Crockenhill’s new manager last Wednesday and revealed that he is building a new squad from scratch.
Kelly said: “Well, it was a bit of a weird one. At the end of last season when Neil Proctor asked me to be his assistant manager at Eltham Palace, I said I had too many concerns about not just where Eltham Palace were going to play, their ethos on how they were going to fulfil the squad, if that makes sense, so I declined the offer to do that and bided my time hoping something would come up.
“I got a text message from (Crockenhill chairman) Steve Cullen to see if I was still available. That was on Wednesday last week and it’s been very difficult since trying to get players in, left, right and centre.”
Kelly revealed he enjoyed a spell in charge of Crockenhill’s reserve side in the past.
He said: “Once upon a time, before my days with Bexley Borough, I was managing their reserves. It must have been six or seven years ago. I really enjoyed my time down there and everyone made me feel welcome.
“I only left to do a bit-part role with Tony Beckingham and Ken Thurgood down at Croydon at the time, so I’m pleased to be back if I’m honest.”
Sittingbourne player-manager Nick Davis has revealed tonight that he will be sending a squad of trailists to Wested Meadow on Saturday as both clubs blow the cobwebs away after the summer break.
“I wish I didn’t have a game on Saturday, it’s still very, very early,” admitted Crocks’ manager.
“I’m still trying to get enough players in to build a team, if I’m honest. I’m still trying to get players down, attract them.
“There will be some players that play on Saturday that haven’t played yet but I don’t really want to get numbers down, I’m after quality over quantity.
“I haven’t actually been at that many clubs, I’ve only had Bexley Borough, a brief spell at Crockenhill, Meridian and a brief spell at Eltham Palace, so not many clubs.
“The only Invicta experience is my time at Meridian and Eltham Palace so attracting the right type of players is going to be difficult but the players I’m going for are generally players that are on their way up rather than down, they’re hungry and keen.”
Kelly revealed that he’s facing a goalkeeper selection problem for Saturday’s game.
“How am I going to treat Saturday? I’m going to try and put the strongest team out as possible from the start with players I know and try and give the second half or latter part of the game, who I just want to see a bit.
“I’ve got to be careful to be beaten by a large number will detract me getting players down for the rest of pre-season so I have to go out there and get the best result.
“I’m expecting to put up a fight for the club that they’re playing for. They won’t have it easy but with a little bit of luck there will be more trailists than first team players, so I’m expecting a tough game.”
“I’m doing this with John Bourke, he was a pro footballer in Ireland. He was number two with David Forde, now the goalkeeper at Millwall, over there.
“I took him to Meridian last year and he played half the games over there.
“He brought in ex Gillingham and ex Dover Connor Vincent and they’re both coming in with me this year. He’s not available on Saturday, which is a shame but the rest of the squad will not be a million miles off for the next couple of weeks.”
Crockenhill v Sittingbourne
Saturday 4th July 2015
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Wested Meadow, Eynsford Road, Crockenhill, Kent BR8 8EJ