Barking boss Gardner hopes professional approach is key as they face new competition

PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 August 2019

Barking manager Justin Gardner (Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Barking manager Justin Gardner (Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Barking manager Justin Gardner is aiming for a more professional approach as they take on the new challenge of playing in the Bet Victor Isthmian League South Central.

The Blues finished 12th in the Isthmian North last season, but have since found themselves swapped over into the South Central following the non-league restructure this summer.

And the boss knows it will be tough taking on new teams this term, but is hoping the new way of working at Mayesbrook Park will pan out.

"That is my plan every season to improve and push on, but nothing is given, you can be professional but once you cross the white line it's down to the players to implement it," Gardner said.

"With us going into the new league I think it's going to be very tough for us if I'm honest because it's not a league we know or I know barring four or five teams.

"It's going to be a new experience for all of us, so we've got to take each game as it comes.

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"We won't make any promises, but anyone who knows me knows that I'm ambitious, but we'll keep our targets in-house."

Barking have moved to bring in a host of players, including the likes of Montel Joseph, Callum Thompson, Ryan Mallett, Jack Hayes, Jed Chouman, Kojo Apenteng, Theo Fairweather-Johnson, Sam Owusu and Jay Knight, as well as retaining a number of last season's squad.

But Gardner says more importantly for him was re-shaping his staff, including the additions of assistant manager Adam Flemming, Mark Dacey, Lee Hughes and fitness coach Ricky McFarlane.

"We've signed some really good players, but my main focus was sorting out my management team," he added.

"It took me about a month, I interviewed quite a lot of applicants for the roles of assistant manager and head coach.

"I felt you have to get it right at the top before you start bringing good players in. I felt that last season the standard of what I wanted in terms of coaching around me wasn't what I would have liked.

"The stuff I've told them I want to implement, they have been to a good standard, and the players are buying into it so far.

"I'm really happy with my management team, so long may that continue. I think that will put us in good stead really."

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