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Chris Swailes post season interview.

In this interview Dunston FC Manager Chris Swailes gives his thoughts on last season and optimistically looks ahead to the coming season.

How do you feel last season went in terms of performance? 

We were all surprised by how good a league it was physically, there were no games were easy games but apart from Workington away, I think we matched everyone we went up against. Last season was a learning curve which will stand us in good stead going into this season. On reflection we need to be better at both ends of the goal and that’s my job as a manager to improve this. We conceded preventable goals, which every manager would say.

If you look at our first game of the season away to Markse Utd, who were a year ahead of us, they were on the verge of play-offs  and it’s where I wanted to be come the end of the season. Overall it was a mediocre season and it’s not what I want.

What would you see as the highlights of the season?

Going to Scarborough in the Intergro League Cup, away to Droyslden in the League and the away games at Marine. The home performance against Ramsbottom, who were challenging at the top of the table.  South Shields at home in the League cup, performance wise I think we’d more than matched them throughout the game only to concede in the stoppage time before going out on penalties.

What are your views on the decision to expunge the season? 

I think they had to expunge the season considering how many games were still left to be played. Football rightly takes a back seat in this situation. Personally speaking I think the decision should’ve been taken earlier but you’re dictated to by the powers that be.

How difficult has it been for you plan for next season given the current situation?

Clubs are in a position now thinking, is the season going to start in August? We’re waiting for registrations to come through at the minute and the players we have want to stay at the club. We’ve got a good pre-season lined up; so I want to build momentum, push on and get a good run of results at the beginning of the season.  

The money some clubs are paying at Northern League level is a challenge in terms of bringing in the players you want in. You can understand some players wanting to stay at that level so we need to be looking to bring in players who want to challenge themselves at a higher level.

Looking ahead to the coming season, what do you see as the key improvements needed?

We need to attack this coming season head on. We went well against some top sides and should’ve had better results against sides we were expecting to beat. We dropped too many points early in the season. We were half decent at home but we can’t afford to lose nine games away, you don’t want to lose that amount all season. We would’ve made the top ten but I feel we would fell short of the play-offs which falls short of my expectations.

Too many times last season we conceded points in games when we were in front. We were able to see games out in The Northern League, but at this level if you switch off you’ll be punished. With the experience we’ve got in the squad, we should’ve won a lot more games than we did and we need to learn from this. I want more and expect more, we all do.

We want to get on another strong run in The FA Cup, we reached the 3rd qualifying round last season, only to concede in the last minutes at home to Colne. Had we of won that one, we would’ve had another local derby with Gateshead. It would’ve meant a big crowd, along with extra revenue that The FA Cup generates and to be fair Gateshead were not the side we’d played the season before.

I ask the Supporters to stand by us.  We’ve got to be challenging in this League, I want a good pre-season and to hit ground running. The minimum expectations for this coming season are to be in the play-offs, confidence is key and come April/May next year, I’ll be disappointed if we’re not in that position.


Published Sunday 17th May 2020