Stockton manager draws strength from cup losses

Former Brake Guy Sanders has joined the coaching set-up at Stockton.
Former Brake Guy Sanders has joined the coaching set-up at Stockton.

Lifting the Coventry Alliance Division One title and the Benevolent Cup would be seen by many as a successful season.

However, for Stockton manager Scott Easterlow it is not the silverware won but the two cup final defeats which have created the more lasting impression ahead of the new campaign.

“We had a great season last year. Nobody can take that away from us,” said Easterlow.

“The aim was always to get back in Premier Division and we did it.

“The cup competition we won was added gloss but for me we should have had much more silverware at end of season.

“One of our problems was that we had a depleted squad through injuries and in finals especially we were scraping around for a squad.

“But that’s football.

“Now we’re back in the Prem it is evident that we need a bigger and better squad, not only to be competitive in the league week-in, week-out, but also in the stronger cup competitions that being in the Premier Division brings.”

To that end, Stockton have wasted no time in improving their resources both on and off the pitch, with former Leamington captain Guy Sanders joining the management team.

And Easterlow says Stockton are already reaping the benefits.

“Guy is top drawer. You’ll struggle to find a nicer bloke than him.

“Although injuries mean he can’t play any more he’s still as fit as they come and has a footballing mentality. The fitness training has all been down to him.

“He comes in with great experience and for him to be involved at a club like Stockton is fantastic.”

Somebody else who has joined the Stockton set-up from a higher level is striker Ross Briscoe, who was at Midland League Division One champions Coventry United.

“Ross helped us out a couple of times last season towards the end of our campaign,” said Easterlow. “But to have him with us every week this year gives us a real goal threat.”

Easterlow has also returned to former club Whitnash Town to sign Josh Cole, John Blunsom and Mike Ellis and is close to tieing up deals for two more players.

And while he stopped short of tipping his side for the title in their first season back in the top flight, the Stockton boss does not deny that is where his ambitions lie.

“We want to be competitive that’s for sure and the motivation is simple: no team from around here has ever won the Coventry Alliance Premier League.

“I’m not stupid enough to say that’s what we are going to do as you just don’t know who you’re coming up against.

“For me the standard gets better and better in this league every year so we’ll have to be up for every game and see where we go.

“In saying that we have a pitch made for fast, passing, attacking football as well as the personnel.

“So that, accompanied with a work rate and the team defending from the front, will hopefully stand us in good stead.”

Stockton kick off their friendlies tomorrow at home to Potters Green (10.30am),