NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: New-look St Ives Town seeking a best-ever season

The new St Ives Town squad ahead of the 2018-19 season, in thier home kit sponsored by Cambridge Sen

The new St Ives Town squad ahead of the 2018-19 season, in thier home kit sponsored by Cambridge Sensotec. They are back row, left to right, Daniel Moyes, Jamie Short, Lewis Leslie, Jarvis Wilson, Tim Trebes, Tom Smith, Charlie DeAth, Lloyd Groves, Danny Kelly, Joe Hood, Tom McGowan, front row, Paul Swannell (goalkeeping coach), Munashe Sundire, Ben Seymour Shove, Mark Coulson, George Bailey, Craig Adams (assistant manager), Ricky Marheineke (manager), Robbie Parker, Ollie Snaith, Declan Rogers, Dylan Wilson and Jess Guthrie (physio). Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke hopes the new season will be the best in the club’s history.

Saints launch their third campaign at Step 3 this Saturday when welcoming Tamworth to Westwood Road for a Southern League Premier Division Central curtain-raiser, 3pm.

Marheineke guided the club to 15th place in 2016/17 before they finished third-bottom in a torrid 2017/18 – a position which would usually have resulted in relegation.

Saints survived due to a restructure of the non-league system and a summer of major change has followed with new personnel (on and off the pitch) and a new mindset.

Marheineke said: “I’m sure everyone will expect us to struggle again, but we’ll be doing all we can to prove people wrong.

“If anything it gives us extra motivation, but we aren’t short of that anyway. The players have set their own targets – which will remain in the four walls of the dressing room – and are determined to hit them.

“It would great if we could finish higher than we’ve ever one before. We have a group with a terrific work ethic and we also want to see their quality shine through.

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“Big changes were necessary after last season when losing became a habit for us. We had to get rid of that mentality.

“Defensively we have looked sound and we’re confident we will be harder to beat than we were last season. The amount of goals we conceded was not acceptable and had to be addressed.

“We now need players to be brave in possession and ensure we have chances to score goals. We’re probably not going to be the most prolific team but I feel we have players who can put the ball in the net.

“We’ definitely need the fans behind us. Hopefully they will turn out in force, starting on Saturday, when we play a team who were in the National League two years ago.

“I feel sure the supporters will enjoy watching this group of players and I guarantee they will put everything on the line every time they step onto pitch – win, lose or draw.”

Marheineke has made a total of 10 new signings and also brought in former Biggleswade Town assistant boss Craig Adams as his number two.

Striker George Bailey became the third player to follow Adams from the Bedfordshire club when signing on the dotted line following Saints’ 0-0 draw against former tenants Cambridge City in their final pre-season outing last Saturday.

Young defender Sam Cartwright has also joined on loan from League One club Peterborough ahead of the big kick-off against Tamworth.