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Old Malton St Mary's prepare to be new season's target
11:14am Tuesday 14th August 2012 in Sport
Old Malton St Mary’s FC manager Darren Dunning believes that “every team will be out to get us”.
The Ryedale-based side won the York Minster Engineering League premier division title, the Senior League Cup and the York FA Saturday Senior Cup, and the ex-York City schemer is convinced they will be the new season’s prime target.
Ahead of Saturday’s premier division start in which Old Malton start the defence of their crown at Rowntree, Dunning said: “People will up their game to beat us. They all want to be the first to beat us because we went unbeaten last season.”
He cited Huntington’s front-line as being the best in the league, with Chris Dyson’s prolific record leading the way.
After their unbelievable success throughout last season, Dunning said he was elated at winning the league for the first time in 11 years and doing the double in the cups.
“The league was more satisfying because of the long wait we have had for a title, but the cups were the icing on the cake,” he said.
Dunning wants them to repeat the success but admitted it will be tough.
“We set our goals early in the season,” said the manager. “The main one is to win the league and we achieved this.”
He highlighted the hard work of the entire team and mentioned how it was “no easy task”, to go unbeaten for the entire league campaign.
Looking at the new term, the Old Malton boss said he was hopeful of keeping the same squad, swelled by several new faces.
Old Malton have lost Neil Wilford, who had a terrific tally of 25 goals in all competitions last season. But they have acted quickly to recruit Damon Cox from Kirkbymoorside.
Dunning will continue to appear with his brother, Richard, next season and said that playing alongsidce his sibling made it easier to function as a team and that the younger players in the ranks were able to learn more because they are ex-professionals.
“It’s good to be back together,” he said of Richard’s influence. “The last time was when we were apprentices at Blackburn.”
Both of them being in the team paid off last season and he will be hoping it will have the same effect.
“To get a few minutes on the pitch again would be great,” said the player-manager.
“Obviously the cruciate ligament injury I got a few years ago was a setback.”
He also wants to repeat their cup success, adding: “Old Malton are renowned for being a good cup team. In the past they have always been involved in at least one cup final.”
But for all his success at leading a team would he prefer to manage a team or play professionally again?
A difficult choice perhaps? Not for Dunning, as he declared: “Play professionally without a doubt.”