NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Saints boss targets progress as his side gears up for start of new league campaign

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke.

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke. - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town boss Ricky Marheineke says his goal for the upcoming season is to improve his side’s standing in the Southern Premier League, by building on the success of last season.

Saints fared well in their debut campaign at Step 3, finishing in 15th place and comfortably clear of the relegation battle that kept rivals St Neots Town occupied for much of the latter stages of the season.

Although keeping his side in the league is still the goal for Marheineke, he is pushing his players to improve upon their haul of 56 points from last season.

He said: “We have said to the players: can we finish in 14th place? Can we get 57 points this season? It is about doing better than last year.

“As long as we are trying to move the club forward every year, we believe that is a positive way to go about things. There is no point setting unrealistic targets for the team, it is about progress and moving forward and that is what we will be trying to do.”

Though Marheineke admits his pre-season preparations could have run more smoothly, he believes his side is in good shape ahead of their season-opener against Weymouth on Saturday, a side expected to contest for top honours again this season.

He said: “There has been frustration at times but overall I am happy with the squad we have put together and I am happy with how we have performed in most of our pre-season games.

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“Weymouth are a very good side with a strong squad and a good setup, they are always one of the favourites. I don’t think there are any good or bad games to have first up because every game in our league is a tough game so we will approach it as we would any other fixture.”

St Ives finished their pre-season campaign on Saturday with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of tenants Cambridge City at Pro-Edge Westwood Road.

Saints goal was scored by midfield ace Ben Seymour-Shove just after the hour mark but it failed to inspire a comeback for St Ives, following a superb eight-minute hat-trick scored by City’s Tom Knowles.