NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Saints’ survival is not a source of cheer for boss

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke was impressed by the efforts of the club's fans, but not the p

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke was impressed by the efforts of the club's fans, but not the performance of his players. - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke fears he will have no choice other than to rip up his squad ahead of next season.

A goalless draw at basement side Gosport Borough last Saturday secured the club’s Southern League Premier Division survival.

But Marheineke was in no mood to celebrate that achievement in a season where only the team the bottom team will be relegated due to a non-league restructure.

In previous campaigns four teams have been relegated from the Premier Division. Were that the case again, Saints would be 17 points from safety and bound for the drop.

Marheineke, whose side have managed only one win and one draw in their last 10 games, said: “How can the players expect me to go into next season with the current group?

“We have good individuals, but it is quite clear that we have fallen short as a team.

“Three teams will go down next season and I don’t currently have the confidence that this squad can keep us in that scenario.

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“It’s not just an opinion. It’s a fact based on the points we have picked up.

“We are nowhere near good enough collectively. We lack consistency game-by-game and also within games.

“When the lads are being faced with situations where they have to take responsibility on the pitch they can’t do it.

“We still have seven games to go and the players need to prove in that time that they are capable of playing as a team.”

A home clash against Redditch last night became the latest addition to a long list of Saints’ postponements this season. That’s now expected to be rescheduled for Thursday, April 19.

They are due back on home turf tonight (Thursday) when they host Basingstoke before welcoming Dorchester on Saturday.

And that’s followed by another ProEdge Westwood Road outing on Tuesday when Stratford are the visitors.

But Marheineke already has more than one eye on next term. He has drawn up a list of potential targets but his top priority will be bringing in a new assistant manager or coach to replace Jack Cassidy, who departed back in January.

“As things stand we’ll definitely need four or five new faces,” added Marheineke. “By that I mean senior players, not just numbers for the squad.

“But the key thing is bringing in the right number two or coach to join the management team as we build for next season.”