Season preview: Green light for go in Knaresborough Town’s play-off push

Knaresborough Town's Brad Walker battling against Harrogate Railway (Photo: Craig Dinsdale)
Knaresborough Town's Brad Walker battling against Harrogate Railway (Photo: Craig Dinsdale)
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Knaresborough Town assistant manager Mark Smitheringale believes it is “absolutely vital” for the club to get off to a flyer under then new regime.

Knaresborough begin their new season this weekend with a trip down the M1 to Nottinghamshire outfit Teversal, before hopping into their cars for a second trip south in the space of 72 hours against Rossington Main on Tuesday evening.

On paper, Boro could not have been handed an easier assignment on the opening day of the season, with Teversal just surviving relegation in third bottom last season.

With boss Paul Stansfield away for the start, Smitheringale has been handed the duty of giving the opening team talk to the players and the experienced assistant said his squad were up to the task of sprinting out of the blocks.

He said: “We have hopefully shown in our last few pre-season games that we want to play in the right way with good shape and be organised. I think the lads are buying into that and are working very hard.

“Obviously there’s more to do and there always will be more to do. But if they continue to take on board the messages that we are putting across then we will have a good season.”

Smitheringale, who has played and coached at Harrogate Town, Harrogate Railway and Tadcaster Albion among a host of other non-league outfits, joined Manse Lane as part of Stansfield’s backroom staff last month, and has already impressed members of the club’s committee with his organised approach.

Following the shock departure of former boss Brian Davey, Stansfield and Smitheringale have been thrown into the deep end to develop a squad capable of reaching the newly-introduced play-offs in Division One.

But despite the hurried approach, and the loss of goalscorer Colin Heath, Smitheringale said a top five place was at the heart of the club’s targets.

The assistant added: “We are not naïve enough to think that we’re the finished article, because we’re not and a long way from it. Equally, we suspect there are a number of clubs, like Hull United, that have fairly big budgets that we haven’t.

“We want to be competitive, and we’d like to think that we can build as we go through the season.

“Everyone at the club would like to see us get somewhere near the play-offs and to be competing near the top end of the table.”