HUCKNALL Town manager Brett Marshall was in bullish mood this week as he prepared to lead his side into the new Evo-Stik League, Division One South season.
Marshall, who led Retford United to the Northern Counties East League (NCEL) Premier Division title last season before switching to Watnall Road is keen to replicate that success with his new club and has worked hard to build a squad he believes is capable of doing so.
That includes several players who have made the journey from Retford with him, and as the Yellows prepared to travel to Newcastle Town tomorrow (Saturday) in their opening match, Marshall was clear on his targets.
“I want to win this division,” he said.
“There’s no point in producing the usual manager’s cliches about wanting to avoid relegation first and so on. I aim high from the off and I believe I’ve got the personnel to achieve those targets.
“If we don’t do that then it’ll be my job next year to improve things sufficiently for another go.”
With the change in management and the introduction of Derek Blow as the club’s new chairman, Hucknall are heading in a new direction this season and Marshall says he can’t wait to get going.
“It’s all about stability. This is a big football club with a great history but that means nothing now, you’re only as good as your last game,” he said.
“But it will also be a learning curve, as much of our pre-season has been.
“It’s a new level for me and a number of the players. It will no doubt be a bit of an eye-opener in the first few games, but it’s a great opportunity and I know the players are good enough and that this will be the right level for them.”
Marshall says he has had reports on Hucknall’s opening opponents but that he will be approaching the game in the same way as any other.
He said: “We’ve got information on Newcastle and know they’re a good side, but it’s hard at non-league level to judge sides because performances can be very inconsistent. They can even depend on variables such as if a player’s had a bad week at work and things like that.
“But I prepare for every game in exactly the same way and it doesn’t matter who we’re playing.
“I expect the same amount of effort and commitment from the players that I put in.”
Following Saturday’s visit to Newcastle, Watnall Road will host its first fixture on Tuesday night when King’s Lynn Town travel from Norfolk.
They are newcomers to the division having been promoted from the United Counties Football League last season.
That match will be followed by an FA Cup tie with Marshall’s former club, Retford United, on Saturday August 25.
Marshall is also keen to give the Yellows’ fans value for money this season.
Attendances have waned a little in recent campaigns and Marshall believes it’s vital supporters return to Watnall Road.
He said: “We don’t throw money around and I don’t want players here who are only interested in cash. Fans want to see honest hard work to justify paying their money at the turnstile and I’ll settle for nothing less.
“League tables don’t tell you what clubs have spent and relatively speaking what they may have wasted.
“We’ve got a lot of local lads here which is one of the things we wanted to do and that should produce its own benefits.
“I live and breathe football and players have to buy into my ethos. I don’t care what anyone says about me or the team - I’ll judge everything myself as we go along and at the end of the season.
“Supporters who are willing to come and watch us will see a set of players who will work their socks off and give value for money. That I can guarantee.”