Barking boss 'surprised' how well his young squad are doing

Barking manager Justin Gardner during Barking vs South Park, BetVictor League South Central Division Football at...

Barking manager Justin Gardner during Barking vs South Park, BetVictor League South Central Division Football at Mayesbrook Park on 7th March 2020 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Barking manager Justin Gardner is ‘pleasantly surprised’ by how well his squad are doing in the Len Cordell Memorial Cup competition.

The Blues are into the quarter-finals where they will face Thurlow Nunn League First Division South side Holland at Mayesbrook Park on Tuesday, May 18. 

A place in the semi-finals is on the line as the boss continues to be impressed by the youngsters he has handed opportunities to in these games and how well they’re adapting to his new system. 

“I’m pleasantly surprised by how well we’ve done with the young squad we’ve got and the new system more so if anything,” he said.

“Playing a new system can take time and we’ve played against some established teams that know the way they play and have some good senior players. 

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“I understand they might be from the league below, but they’re still ahead in terms of experience, and how the manager wants them to play. 

“We’ve done better than I would have hoped for and that’s credit to the players because they’re the ones that are doing it on the pitch and making it look easier than what it is. 

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“There will still be difficult times ahead because there is a certain few positions that I'm not entirely happy with, so there is still positions up for grabs. 

“Those that have taken their positions deserve it and long may it continue.” 

The boss has however revealed Holland are an unknown to him having never come up against them in his managerial career. 

“I’ve had a report on them, but I’ve never faced them or seen them, although I have done my homework on them and know their weaknesses," he added. 

“I have been told they’re quite a strong outfit though to be fair.” 

The former Aveley and Billericay Town manager is hoping his side can start taking more of their chances to ensure they keep progressing. 

“Apart from Saturday (3-1 friendly loss against Stansted) because we played a trial team, all the other games we’ve been playing our under-23s, and some of the fringe players from last season and I can’t complain," he said.

“The only thing I can complain about is that we’re creating numerous chances and we should be taking them, but hopefully that will come with more confidence, and a bit more understanding in terms of the system.”

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