We want to try to finish up there, up and around it and if we can try and get a bit of silverware, that's our aim, says Deal Town head coach Steve King

Sunday 29th July 2018

DEAL TOWN head coach Steve King says his side overachieved after finishing in seventh-place last season.

Derek Hares' side kick-off their Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign with a trip to Thornton Heath to play AFC Croydon Athletic, a side that finished their last campaign in thirteenth.

“They’re a good side, it’s a tough start,” said King, after yesterday’s 5-0 home win over Lydd Town.

“It’s not a place we particularly like going but we prefer to go there in August than in December.

“It’s going to be a battle and they’re going to be a big, strong side.  Kevin Rayner has them well organised and it’s going to be really tough but we’ve made a point where we need to improve our away form this year, so what better way to start with a tough away game to see where we’re at?”

Deal Town then welcome Hollands & Blair to the Charles Sports Ground on Tuesday 7 August.

The Gillingham based outfit are under new management in Darren Blackburn and they pulled off the great escape under Clint Gooding last season.

“A good club aren’t they, a tough club, they’re a proper club,” said King.

“They’re all in it together, they’re never easy to play. They did well to stay up last year and they’ll be a test and we’ll certainly won’t be taking them lightly.

“They came third in the division a couple of years ago so they’ve got potential.  I know they’ve lost some players and they’ve got a new manager but he’s been involved in the club so I know it’s very cliché, next Sunday morning we’ll start worrying about Hollands & Blair but all our focus is on AFC Croydon Athletic.”

King then spoke about his aspirations for the new season.

“I’m not going to put a position on it because we don’t know what’s going to happen with the league,” he said.

“There’s a lot of money being spent, at this club we do things properly. We’ve had a settled squad for a few years, they’re a young squad. We can’t compete with some of the other club’s financially but we’ll look to compete on the pitch.

“We got 60 points last year. Our first aim is to try to get to that again but I think we overachieved last year so if we can get to 60 points, that’s our aim and let’s see when we get there. If we get to 60 points in March then we’ll have another conversation but we’re not getting carried away.

“We’re not making any silly predictions but I think there’s a lot of sides that respect us around the league now, especially down here. We’re not an easy side to play against so we’ll be going out to finish as high as we can.”

Deal Town have lost their coastal rivals to the Isthmian League and with the South East Division containing 13 club’s in Kent or in south-east London, King wants to join them at some point.

“Ultimately, when you see the club’s in the league above, the clubs ambition is to try and get in that league but we’re going to do it the right way and keep trying to build,” he said.

“The players we’ve brought in the summer are trying to improve us. We bring in a specific type of player and that’s trying to bring in young players that have had experience at higher levels being around pro club’s that have probably lost their way a little bit and we try to give them a platform where they can excel and go on and push their game on.

“We’re not throwing big money, no one is here for that.  They’re all here because they want to be here.

“Jack Paxman came in and done two seasons with us and got himself a move to Bostik Premier Margate.  We’ve got a lot of players in the dressing room that are looking to do that and that’s our model, that’s how we work.

“We want to try to finish up there, up and around it and that’s our aim and if we can try and get a bit of silverware in the Kent Senior Trophy or in the League Cup.  The club hasn’t won anything since it won the FA Vase in 2000, so that’s our aim for the season.”

Visit Deal Town’s website:  https://dealtownfc.co.uk/

AFC Croydon Athletic  v  Deal Town
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 4 August 2018
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Mayfield Stadium, off Mayfield Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 6DN