ALCESTER Town manager James Robbins believes things are heading in the right direction for his side after a tough start to the 2015/16 season.
Town sit 14th in the Midland League Division Three table after ten games – a third of the way through their league campaign – but improved form in recent weeks has left Robbins feeling positive about what the rest of the season can bring.
Right back Robbins only became player-manager in July at the age of 25 when he took the reins following the departure of Dave Poulson and, without his intervention, the club would have folded.
He said: “Obviously we would like to be further up the table, but the first objective when I took over was to get a side together first and foremost, which I managed to achieve.
“The second objective was to be competitive and I believe we have managed to do that also.
“This season was always going to be one of transition and things are certainly improving as time goes on.
“At the start, I was almost forced into signing players just to make sure we had a squad, but now we are at a stage whereby I am able to bring players in who I believe will truly strengthen us and that has been reflected in our recent additions.”
Robbins, who recently made a key signing in the shape of the versatile former Racing Club Warwick captain and Southam United player Mark Briggs, added: “We were extremely unlucky in the opening few weeks in terms of long-term injuries, which certainly didn’t help.
“Performances of late, other than the Smithswood disaster, have been very good and we have a squad of players here who want to work for each other and we must now ensure we start to pick up the points our hard graft merits.
“Things are certainly heading in the right direction.”
Alcester were beaten 2-1 at West Midlands Regional League Division One outfit Wrens Nest in the second round of the Birmingham Vase on Saturday.
Matt Trinder was on the mark for Town, who may be able to welcome back top scorer Matt Layton from an ankle injury when they return to league action in a key match at Perrywood on November 28.
Despite their exit, Robbins was delighted with his side’s endeavours in the Black Country, especially following the first half dismissal of Kieran Downey.
“This game was always going to be a tough test for us but I thought we were superb from start to finish,” said Robbins.
“Going down to ten men made it even more difficult but the way the lads pulled together and the workrate we showed was outstanding.
“We had the chances to get ourselves level but it just wasn’t to be. To say I’m pleased with the spirit and workrate would be an understatement.
“Kieran’s gone in and caught the lad high. I have no complaints with the decision. He’s put in a cracking challenge in the same position only a couple of minutes before but he got it wrong second time around and it certainly gave us a mountain to climb.”
New-boy Briggs made his debut for Alcester and Robbins was excited by what he saw.
He added: “I thought Mark was outstanding. He hasn’t played much for a couple of seasons but I think it was clear for all to see why I was so keen to bring him to the football club and he will only get better with games played.”