New Loxwood boss Neathey backs young Magpies to make the grade

Loxwood FC. Eddie French.  09-16. Pic Steve Robards SR1627591 SUS-160924-124840001
Loxwood FC. Eddie French. 09-16. Pic Steve Robards SR1627591 SUS-160924-124840001

New Loxwood manager Gareth Neathey believes his young squad will take time to develop as he looks ahead to the new Southern Combination League Premier Division season.

Former Magpies assistant manager Neathey replaced the long-serving Dave Cocoracchio at the end of last season after he ended a seven-year association with the club.

The new man in charge feels that his youngsters will try and play football the right way but remained realistic about Loxwood bettering last season’s 11th-placed finish.

He said: “Having a young squad I think we’re just going to go out there and enjoy our football, play quite an open, attacking style rather than worry about losing.

“It’s going to be a project and we’re going to lose games but we’re going to take it on the chin and we’ll learn.

“We’re not expecting to go and pull up trees this season and win the league but we would like to better last seasons position.”

The Magpies have brought in several young players to boost them for the upcoming season and Neathey was delighted they had joined.

Neathey added: “We’ve had a couple come in who used to play for us a couple of years ago and a couple of new ones.

“We’ve brought in Harry Williams from East Grinstead.

“We’ve also got two youngsters, Jed Hooper-Ridsdale and Tim Bennett, back from Horsham YMCA.

“We’ve also got Liam Williams who is a goalkeeper from Billingshurst. He was a Brighton youngster as a kid so he’s a good quality keeper.”

Neathey has also managed to retain several key players from last season and was pleased to secure their services.

He said: “Eddie French, Ross Swaine, Joe Holvey, Jordan Warren, and Josh Courtney will return.

“That was one of my aims, to keep as many of the squad from last season together and then build from there so I’m really happy that they’ve stayed.”

The Loxwood boss has also been trying to assert his own football identity on the club and feels having a young squad at his disposal will make it easier to get his ideas across.

Neathey added: “We’ve changed a few things round and I’m trying to put my own stamp on it and it being a young side they are taking to it quite well.

“I was involved with the first team last year so it’s good that there has been new faces that have come in because they’re more eager to learn different things rather than the older players who were stuck in a bit of a rut.”