The North West Counties Football League
Published 19th September 2012
.....Saints in the Premier Division, after taking over the reins in the summer.
After the club’s much publicised managerial turnover in the close season, they turned to Granite, who as he explained, had originally planned to take a break from football management after steering Wigan Robin Park reserves to the Reserve Division title last season.
“I had actually left Wigan Robin Park and was going to have a year off to do all my coaching badges, and then try and get back into it again next year. But when the opportunity came up to take over as manager at Town I couldn’t turn it down, especially as I was moving from reserve team football to a manager’s job in the Premier Division.
“It’s been tough, a lot tougher than I expected. I had to build a full squad as there wasn’t one player left from last season and when we turned up for pre-season it was only the lads I’d asked to come down who were there, and not one first team player from last season turned up.
“All last year’s squad have moved, and good luck to them, but it meant we had a lot of triallists coming in and giving them a run out, which meant pre-season results were a bit up and down, we just didn’t seem to get a settled side.”
Despite the rather disjointed pre-season, however, Town began the season well.
“Although the first two games went well with two wins, from there we’ve played well enough and not always got what we deserved”, said Granite. “Although we did get a great point at Bootle, we’ve had a tough opening set of fixtures playing the likes of Bootle, Barnoldswick, Stockport Sports, Congleton and Padiham but there’s been a lot of positives to take and it’s worked out okay so far.”
As the season progresses Granite is looking bolster the ranks in the squad.
“In the last couple of weeks I’ve signed Lee Novak from Atherton Colls and Chris Williams from AFC Liverpool, and I’m always looking to strengthen in every position, and hopefully will make a few more signing in the next few weeks.
“Oddly enough we don’t have any St Helens lads in the squad right now, which is a bit of shock when you think of it because traditionally St Helens has always had strong sides at this level. We’ve lads from the likes of Bolton and Wigan and I’ll love to have St Helens-based lads in the team, but really as long as they are good enough to play at this level, I don’t care where they come from.”
A morale-boosting win at Daisy Hill in the FA Vase at the weekend was Town’s first win in eight games, and Ian is now looking to build on that result
“The win at Daisy Hill was a great boost, as league results haven’t been great, and it was nice to play in a cup game and get a break from playing in the league. Now it’s back to the league again but having scored a few goals, hopefully the lads will take confidence from that.
“I don’t like setting targets but I know what I want to achieve, and we have a lot of players who are playing their first season in this League, so it will take them time to adjust. I know we will get better, especially when we get a settled side, and I’m sure we will do okay.”