Eastwood Community FC have set their sights on the Central Midlands League South title this season with new boss Dave Marlow declaring ‘second best is not an option’.
The Badgers have had a shake-up behind the scenes after suffering the agony of finishing runners-up to champions Selston by a single point last term.
With joint manager from last season Jez Corthorn having taken up a general manager role, former Linby Colliery and Arnold Town boss Marlow has joined the club to manage the team alongside last season’s joint manager Jonathan Wass.
“The club missed out on winning the league by one point last year but second best this season is not an option,” said Marlow.
“Everyone involved in the first team and reserves understands that. The Central Midlands League is difficult to get out of as only one team goes up.”
On his new role, he said: “I am really enjoying it. I was at Arnold last year and I really enjoyed that experience too.
“But as soon as Eastwood was offered I couldn’t turn it down really. I know the people down there. I know the management from last year and I’ve know the owners of the club for years.
“I played for Jez back in the mid-noughties at Bestwood and I played with Toddy (Wass) at Bestwood, Rolls and Sunday mornings. We go back a very long way.
“So it feels quite comfortable for me to come in.
“I think there was speculation when I first joined about what roles we would have, but we had several meetings about each person’s responsibilities and it’s not an issue whatsoever. We are putting all our knowledge and experience together and we are feeling very positive.
“It is a club on the up – there is so much going on. They are doing things in the right way.”
Cawthorne agreed that the title was a must.
“We are under no illusions – that is the target,” he said.
“That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to win it to guarantee getting up. We want to get to step six as soon as possible.
“I am still going to be in the dug-outs and changing room, offering opinions when required.
“I will still be heavily involved in the first team. But me and Toddy both thought it would be better if we brought someone in with fresh ideas.
“Dave is a qualified coach who can take us on to the next step.
“It (moving upstairs) is something I have been thinking about for six to eight months now so it was no shock to anyone. That’s what I wanted to do.
“They will be solely responsible for picking the side. I won’t interfere in anything like that.
“I have known Dave for years and he played for me at Bestwood and Toddy has played football with him.
“When we got the Eastwood job he was the first person I rang to try to get him in here with us, but he had already committed to another job.
“We’ve had a very good pre-season and played well against step five clubs and we have had four new additions to the squads. So things are looking up.”
Eastwood lost a pre-season game for the first time on Wednesday night with a 3-2 home defeat by Maltby Main.
Marlow said: “We missed a lot of chances but it was probably good for the lads to suffer a defeat as I didn’t want them to get too complacent.
“We’re still changing it round a lot and giving people lots of minutes.”
The friendlies continue on Saturday with the visit of Awsworth Villa.