Barking boss Gardner says they will not underestimate promotion hopefuls Canvey
PUBLISHED: 14:00 10 August 2018
Barking manager Justin Gardner says his side will not underestimate Canvey Island in their Bostik North season opener, writes Jacob Ranson.
The Blues travel away to The Frost Hire Stadium on Saturday as they look to cause an upset against one of the league’s favourites for the title.
Gardner praised Danny Heale’s side, but admits he is not too concerned about his players doing battle against the bigger clubs this term.
“We won’t underestimate Canvey that’s for sure, they’ve assembled a good side, and they’ve kept everyone from last season’s side except one, who they lost to Bishop Stortford (Ryan Charles),” he said.
“They’ve added to the team as well with Jordan Cox and obviously Martin Tuohy who joined them from us last year has been in rich form in pre-season with six goals in six.
“They’ve signed James White, who for me is a National League player, so I’m surprised to see him at this level, but everyone has their reasons.
“They will be strong and I’ve spoken to their manager and they do want to go one better and go automatic this season.
“That’s just what we’re up against but my teams over the years have always done well against the so-called favourites for the league.
“That’s never been my concern. We go there as underdogs, but my concern is playing against the teams in and around us, the teams who are trying to over-achieve and break into the top end of the table.”
Blues boss Gardner says his side must be better against the teams similar to themselves, adding: “Canvey, Heybridge and Coggeshall, the teams who are well financially, we’re not expected to win those games, and Bowers and Aveley as well.
“If we beat the teams in and around us then I’m sure we can go one better than last season.”
Gardner admits a stronger start to the season could put his side in a real good mind-set, adding: “I take each game as it comes, but I think it was the chairman that said we only took 12 points from our first 10 games or something like that, I can’t remember exactly.
“If we can improve on that (it will good) as I think we had a good period from October to March and then fell off at the end. If we can improve our start to the season then I think we’re in a healthy position.”