UPPINGHAM Town boss Richard Kendrick expects Rutland’s sides to bounce back next season after a difficult 2011-12 campaign for the county’s top teams.
Ryhall have won Division Two of the Peterborough and District League but elsewhere Rutland’s football bosses have suffered for long stretches of the season in particular the top trio of Cottesmore, Oakham United and Uppingham.
Cottesmore finished bottom of the Leicestershire Senior League, Oakham United mixed with the sides at the bottom of the Peterborough League’s top flight for long stretches, and Uppingham remain second bottom with two games to go. But Kendrick says next year will be better for all concerned.
Kendrick, who has managed for 21 years, said: “It has been a horrible season. It has been the hardest I have known it for a while – perhaps the hardest since the first season I managed.
“It’s hard work when you’re down at the bottom but Oakham turned their season around and Cottesmore stuck at it in a dog-fight.
“If we do our jobs I think all three teams will do better next year. Uppingham belong within the elite and that is where we want to be.
“It’s a cracking club but just needs a little bit of commitment from players too.”
Kendrick, who abandoned indoor training when too few players turned up to justify the cost this season, added: “If the lads are not prepared to train this could be the last year that we play top flight football with all the expenses that there are now.
“We want to have 35 to 40 players. They have to be dedicated but there are no match fees and they are all looked after well.”
The highlight of his season at Uppingham has been the emergence of a group of talented young players and Kendrick said: “Hopefully we can aim for mid-table next year. I am hoping Mark Brotherton will come back to do the pre-season training from the first week in July but we are also looking for others to join the management team.
“With luck Paul Sheehan can come back from injury and there is not a side that would not want him. Martin Bennett has been injured this season and hopefully Andy Sayers will return.
“Add to that, young players like Callum O’Berg, Jake Norton and Jamie Howe and we will have a good side. Then we need to get more of the youngsters who are old enough to play in the reserves so that they are ready to step up when they are needed.”
Town lost 4-1 at Moulton Harrox with Rob Forster scoring last weekend when Kendrick tried a few players in new roles but this week called on his side to end the season in winning style.
Tomorrow’s visit of Parson will be Town’s final home game of the season, ahead of a trip to Netherton.
“We would like to win them both,” said Kendrick. “It’s nice to finish on a high.
“I’d like to thank all the supporters who have stuck with us through thick and thin this season; and the Silver Fish Bar and our sponsors.”
Uppingham (v Moulton Harrox): Tom Hubbard, Callum O’Berg, Jake Norton, Lee Wood, Martin Bennett, Jamie Howe (Martin Turiccki), Will Thomas, Rob Lawrie (Kerry Nimmons), Dave Laughton, Jamie Binley, Rob Forster.
l PLAYERS and anyone interested in joining the management team at Uppingham should call Richard Kendrick on 07801 259225.