The chairman now realises it’s a bigger bowl with bigger fish in it so you’ve got to find your place in the food chain and be efficient and economic to get that balance on and off the pitch, says Welling Town boss Danny Wakeling

Sunday 28th July 2019

WELLING TOWN manager Danny Wakeling says he is looking forward to the challenges ahead.

The Boots are preparing for life in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division for the first time, having played Kent County League Division Two West football only a couple of years ago.

Welling Town went down to a crushing 4-1 defeat to First Division side Sporting Club Thamesmead in Joe Ford’s Benefit game on Thursday night and followed this with a 4-2 defeat to Croydon yesterday.

“Worried? Not at all! Pre-season is pre-season. We’ve had a look at 30 off players to give them as many minutes as possible,” Wakeling said of his entire pre-season campaign.

Welling Town have one more warm-up game left to play – at home to South East Athletic on Tuesday night – before they welcome Canterbury City to Bayliss Avenue next Saturday 3 August (15:00).

It will be Clive Cook’s first game in charge of Canterbury City and Welling Town’s debut in the ninth tier of English football.

“Looking forward to it to be honest,” said Wakeling, who has previously managed FC Elmstead, Bromleians and Kent Football United.

“It terms of the club, it’s come a long way in a short time. Kevin Oakes (chairman) has done a great job, the managers have delivered on the pitch and he’s made sure the tools have been available to do so.

“I’ve been supported since I’ve come here.  I’m looking forward to the challenge myself, having been around tier six and I went back into the Kent County League football to rebuild.

“I love the game so I wanted to stay in it, sort of hanging around and wait for an opportunity at step four, five or six, you could be out for a couple of years’. 

“If you really love the game just get back involved anywhere, so I had a good spell in the Kent County, had a decent season last year.  Kent Football United were sort of going nowhere and the opportunity of coming here to work with a prudent budget, I’m actually looking forward to the challenge.

“We’re playing at better grounds, against better players with tougher challenges, tougher teams to play against but that’s why I’m in football for, to go as far as I can and test myself as far as I can.

“Our management team is good, it’s enthusiastic and positive and they’ll enjoy the ride.

“We’ve got a good group of players in the main.  I have now got to make sure they show character when things don’t go their way and we’ve got to make sure they’ve got the right personality.

“It’s a big challenge and I’m looking forward to it.”

When asked about Welling Town’s aspirations for the season ahead, Wakeling replied: “Look I think there is a top eight hierarchy and we’ll do well to break into that.

“Anything from seventh or eight downwards sometimes it can only be two or three points difference or sometimes it can be goal difference.

“I expect us to be in that pack. There’s no reason why we can’t have a crack at the top eight - you’ve got to have some kind of a target.

“As far as the clubs concerned, Kevin wants it to be sustainable as in he’s invested his best to get here, he now realises it’s a bigger bowl with bigger fish in it so you’ve got to find your place in the food chain and be efficient and economic to get that balance on and off the pitch, which is what I’m here for.

“He’s been smart and prudent about it. He wants to stay in this league and sustain top end level SCEFL football, in maybe three or four years’ time he might have a plan for the next layer of development. Who knows? He wants to enjoy his football, going to nice grounds, bigger crowds so we’re on the same page really.”

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Welling Town  v  Canterbury City
Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Saturday 3 August 2019
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ