World cup boss Crosbie off to positive start for Hares

March Town Football Club - New manager Paul Crosbie (left) with new assistant Bob Warby.
March Town Football Club - New manager Paul Crosbie (left) with new assistant Bob Warby.

MARCH Town’s new manager Paul Crosbie has enjoyed a real positive first week in the job after his appointment last Tuesday.

Crosbie (35) spent four years as head coach to Turks And Caicos team including the World Cup qualifiers in 2004 and holds a UEFA B coaching badge too.

He has certainly wasted no time getting to grips with the task in hand and quickly arranged a meeting for prospective players at the GER on Saturday morning after announcing that former March player Bob Warby would be his assistant manager. Mark Forrest has also been recruited as the goalkeeping coach.

Crosbie, who was on Aston Villa and Leicester City’s books as a youngster and was a coach at Wimbledon for four years, said: “I am really delighted to have been given the job by the March board and am looking forward to the challenge. I had not met Bob Warby before but we share the same ideals and he has the local knowledge of players to help me.”

Crosbie is faced with a big challenge in a short time as the new season kicks off on August 4 and former manager Brett Whaley has taken seven of last season’s squad to Yaxley. Skipper Luke Pepper may also join them too, while Marc Welcher, Stu Anderson and Lewis Cook have attracted attention from Huntingdon and Ash Brand is also considering his future.

However some of these players were at the GER on Saturday to hear Crosbie’s plans and he commented: “We had a good turn out of 15-20 players on Saturday and some have promised to come back on June 18 when we will be starting preseason training. I have not spoken to the players who have committed to Yaxley, but I think I have had a positive reaction from the others who were here last season.

“We are both going into this blind. I have not seen them play and they do not know how I operate but they have said they will come preseason and have a look and then make up their minds. I would like to keep as many as possible of them.”

Pepper was among the those present on Saturday and, as well as Yaxley, he is also being chased by another former March manager Jamie Weston who is now in charge at Peterborough Northern Star.

Pepper said: “It will be a big decision for me to leave March after all these years at the club and I will not be making any decision on next season until later on.”

One of the first priorities for Crosbie is to find a new goalkeeper and he commented: “It is perhaps the most important position and I already have three players in mind including one from the Boston area and we will get them down here and have a look.”

“I want the players to express themselves and enjoy their football on a Saturday in the right environment. I am confident I can improve the players we assemble by the end of the season.

“I might not have a great knowledge of local football at the moment, but it was the same when I went to the Caribbean and it worked out well there.

“I have people helping me who have given me names of local players and I can use my coaching experience to make sure the players get decent training and are looked after properly.

“With so many players set to leave it is a big challenge, but hopefully we can have a competitive team in place for the first league game on August 4.

“I want the first and reserves teams to be as one and train together. If a player is doing well in the reserves then he will get his chance in the first team and a first team player not doing so well or returning from injury will play for the reserves.”

Crosbie has already arranged three preseason friendlies: at Long Sutton on July 14, and then home games against Wisbech Town on July 21 and Sleaford Town on July 28 all 3pm kick-offs.

Preseason training starts at the Neale-Wade on June 18.

“I would also like to arrange two more games in midweek and hopefully Peterborough Northern Star will be one,” added Crosbie.

The March board had seven applications for the job including former Wisbech assistant boss Chris Dear and chairman Phil White said: “Paul Crosbie has the same long term objectives we have and he was the ideal candidate for the job.”