Huntingdon Town should be aiming as high as sixth, says Ricky Marheineke

GREAT SIGNING: Striker Jamie Graham has been excellent since joining Huntingdon Town. Picture: Helen

GREAT SIGNING: Striker Jamie Graham has been excellent since joining Huntingdon Town. Picture: Helen Drake. - Credit: Archant

“WE are already three weeks into January and having only played 20 league games it looks like we are going to have a very busy second half of the season,” said Huntingdon Town manager Ricky Marheineke.

“Add to that the Hinchingbrooke Cup and a cup final against St Neots Town and our squad will definitely be put to the test in the coming weeks and months.”

Having put an end to a slightly worrying four-game losing run with a fine 2-1 win over Cogenhoe United on January 12, Huntingdon’s game at home to Deeping Rangers on Saturday was snowed off.

The club has played fewer games than any of its United Counties League Premier Division rivals – 20 – and they sit relatively comfortably in ninth place in the table.

Considering the team has one of the lowest budgets in the division, and promotion from Division One as champions took them to the highest level they have ever played at, that’s certainly not a position to be sniffed at.

Low on numbers for the first couple of games back in August, the manager has been able to convince some quality players to sign up, including experienced striker Jamie Graham, and former Peterborough United trainee Ben Seymour-Shove, whom he rates very highly.

Also, having lost last season’s top scorer Declan Rogers to St Neots for the first quarter of the season, he was able to welcome back the winger after he left the Southern League club under an exaggerated disciplinary cloud.

Most Read

When the team beat St Ives Town in their Hunts Senior Cup semi-final recently, Marheineke was able to introduce Niks Savlaneiks and Ben Sawyer from the bench. That certainly indicates strength in depth.

“I am confident that our very impressive squad will be able to cope,” said Marheineke. “It’s a different story now to the start of the season. I currently have 21 first-team players but back in August for our first FA Cup fixture against Irchester United and first league fixture, I was only able to name 13 players.

“The chairman Paul Hunt and director Russell Yessek have backed me and allowed me to bring in seven new faces – and the impact it has had has been brilliant. We have competition for places and that competition within the squad has allowed us to kick on.

“I think being able to add the quality of Declan Rogers, Jamie Graham, Ben Seymour-Shove and Ben Sawyer along with Victor Torres, Ollie Medwynter – and currently Enol Ordonez in goal – it’s no surprise we have had a relatively good first half to the season.

“Had someone asked me my expectation at the start of the season for the squad I had going into the first game, I would have without a doubt said survival would have been our aim.

“Now, five months on with the squad I have, I think sitting in the top 10 is about where we should be.

“That said, we have shown by beating St Ives Town twice and leaders Holbeach United away that if we get it right on a more consistent basis throughout the second half of the campaign we should be aiming as high as sixth.

After winning the Division One title at the end of his first season in charge, Marheineke has added assistant Teddy Dear to his back room staff. He already had coach Paul Swannell to help him out. Now, together, they are working hard to further the club’s ambition.

“I am still new to this and have been in charge for less than two years. Every week, training session, and game is a learning experience for me.

“I am enjoying the challenges it brings. I feel we as a club are moving in the right direction and with a great group of people supporting me and an even better group of players giving me their everything, I am very optimistic that this club will be successful.”