Barking manager Gardner is putting Maldon defeat aside to start plans for next term
PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 April 2019
Barking manager Justin Gardner says he is already looking forward to next season after finishing 12th in the Bostik North.
The Blues suffered a heavy 7-1 defeat to third-placed Maldon & Tiptree in their final fixture of the 2018/19 season on Saturday with Nana Boakye-Yiadom netting his side's only goal.
And boss Gardner was keen to put that behind him and start thinking about building for next term.
“I don't really want to talk too much about the game,” the 38-year-old said.
“When we look back at the season finishing 12th for myself is disappointing, but in terms of the club's resources and objectives, I think we've over-achieved.
“I'm more looking forward to next season, once the 3G pitch has been laid, which should be starting next week.”
The former Aveley boss insists he has been planning for the 2019/20 season for a number of weeks – despite still wanting to pick up results.
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“It was like that a few weeks ago,” he added.
“Obviously we wanted to finish as high as possible, but I can't lie my focus has been on next season really and the work has begun for that already. Nothing concrete, but there are players I have targeted and put on a shortlist, and they'll be the ones I'm trying to sign.”
Gardner claimed it has been a competitive league this season and he felt they lacked a real goal threat until the February signing of Boakye-Yiadom.
“It's a tough league with some very good teams, some very good players in it, and I felt all season we was a goalscorer away from challenging for anything, winning any honours or pushing up the table,” he said.
“Nana finished with seven goals in 12 starts for us, which is a decent return, but he came to us out of shape and carrying an injury.
“We've had to nurse that through and someone like him will be one of the ones I'm looking to keep.
“He will get a lot of offers from a higher level, but if he's sensible he just needs a full season of being injury free and then he'll get 30-plus goals.”
Gardner also added: “I would like to thank all the players, the club and fans for all their support this season.
“We're looking forward to next season and playing on our new surface.”