Steve Cuggy (Pre-Season Preview)

Blyth Spartans manager Steve Cuggy is looking forward to his first pre-season in the Croft Park hot seat – which begins on home soil against Partick Thistle on Saturday.

Cuggy – speaking after taking his first training session on Thursday night – views the nine upcoming friendly games as a great chance for his players to stake a claim for a first team place.

He said: “I haven’t got a first eleven in mind. The lads who do well on the pitch and in training will be the ones who grab the shirts.

“It is very important for us to have a good pre-season. It’s all about picking up good habits from the start and having a winning mentality.”

Pre-season will also be an opportunity for the manager to try new ideas and supporters are sure to be excited at the prospect of Robbie Dale moving back up front to partner new striker, and captain, Graeme Armstrong.

Cuggy, a forward himself, had a brief but spectacular spell for Blyth two decades ago, and is hoping his decision will turn out to be a masterstroke.

He said: “It could be a formidable partnership as we’re looking to move Robbie back up front with Graeme and I’ve already had a chat with them and explained that.”

With both Armstrong and Wayne Phillips making the move from Harrogate Town, and with the recent acquisition of Shaun Vipond from Workington, Cuggy has been delighted to bring in proven quality from the Blue Square Bet North.

He said: “In terms of signings it’s actually gone better than I expected.

“We’ve made some very good signings from the likes of Harrogate and Workington and there has also been interest from players higher up the pyramid as well.

“As it happens we have managed to get some very good northern league players on top of that so it’s gone great.” He added.

He is also delighted with the players he has managed to retain for next season.

Cuggy said: “The players who have stayed were all well up on my list of players who I would have liked to have seen stay at the club and I’ve been very impressed with the attitude.

“They just want to play football and just want to enjoy the training.”

The players who reported back for training on Thursday night were put through their paces by assistant manager Gavin Fell, and Cuggy is in no doubt that his number two will help to get the players both physically and mentally prepared for the new season.

He said: “Gavin is a massive help to me, he is an ultra professional in the way he does things and he has very high standards.

“His coaching sessions are excellent, the lads have just had a really hard session but they’ve all come off with smiles on their faces.”

Cuggy would not be pressed on making a prediction for next season but claimed it would be ‘pointless’ taking on the position of manager if he did not think the team could achieve more than they did in the last campaign.

He said: “Quarter final of the Trophy and a top ten finish was very good so it is our aim to better that next season.”

“If we weren’t looking to improve on last season then it would be pointless us being here.”

Posted by BSAFC Admin