Tuesday, 16 October 2018

New Red Kites boss sets sights on survival

THE new manager of Henley Town says survival in the Hellenic League Premier Division is his aim

THE new manager of Henley Town says survival in the Hellenic League Premier Division is his aim this season.

Gerry McGinty says the division is “very different” as the Red Kites prepare to play two games a week and that the team should just look to consolidate their place this term.

McGinty, 29, who has been a coach at the club since April, replaces former manager Craig Sumner who has stepped down from the post due to work commitments.

Sumner, who was assisted last season by Lee Povey, who is also stepping down, guided the Red Kites to promotion from Division 1 East as well as winning the Reading Senior Cup last season.

McGinty, who has an FA pro licence coaching qualification and is head of coaching at the Bucks College, will be assisted by former Woodley United manager Jock Mowat when the side kick off their Premier Division campaign.

He said: “The aim is to avoid relegation. Four teams get relegated so to finish out of that bottom group would be a success for us.

“A little run in the FA Cup and Vase would be nice but anything above survival would be a bonus. We are just starting in this division so we need to consolidate for a few years.

“Last year we played three games against teams from this division and we won them all. On our day in a one-off game we can do it at this level but over the course of a season it’s very different. We will be playing two games a week and will sometimes have players missing through things like work commitments. That’s what we will struggle with.”

The Red Kites have impressed in pre-season and McGinty says he is pleased with the backbone of his squad so far, though he is still looking to add players.

He said: “I sat down with Craig and Lee last season, they wanted to build the team from the back and coming up a division you need to have a solid defence.

“We are really happy with the back four and the midfield was also strong. The spine of the team is really good so we are just looking to add players around that.

“There are six or seven players left from last year’s squad. The level of commitment is a lot higher in this league because you are playing two games a week and they are sometimes hours away. At the moment we are looking for a striker and a wide midfield player.”

Henley’s first game will be at home to Binfield on Tuesday, a side they beat 5-3 in the final of the Reading Senior Cup in May.

They will then face a trip to Brimscombe and Thrupp on Saturday, August 6 for an FA Cup preliminary round clash.

McGinty said: “We started pre-season very early in June because the big games, including the FA Cup game, come very quickly at the start.

“If we do well it brings in some extra money and sets us up well for the rest of the season.

“We’ve played six or seven friendlies so we hope to be firing on all cylinders when the season starts.

“Compared to how we were in the cup final I think we are a stronger squad. We have seen how Binfield play and I’m pretty confident.

“The Brimscombe and Thrupp game is one of the hardest draws we could have had, it’s a lot of travelling and they are a good time. We have to be confident that we can get a result and bring them back to our place.”

McGinty, who is originally from Glasgow, started as a sports scientist with Rangers before moving to Clyde as a coach, where he was the U14s and U17s manager while studying for his coaching badges.

He joined the Berkshire College of Agriculture in Maidenhead last May and was promoted to head of football in September.

McGinty also had a brief spell as Chalfont Wasps manager from Christmas until the end of last season.

He said: “I’m excited to get the first game underway. This is the first time in a few years that I’ve had pre-season with a club to stamp my own ideas on them.”

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