As pre-season gets underway, Loughborough Football Club’s new Head Coach has set his sights on the BUCS Championship, saying that winning it “would be fantastic and is certainly achievable.”
Training commenced on Friday for the 1st XI squad and those players who will be competing in the non-league competition this winter. It is the first time that Stuart Mclaren, who arrived in May, has had the opportunity to make his mark on the squad, having replaced Tom Curtis as boss, who took up international duties as Technical Director and Head Coach of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association in March.
Mclaren told Label that he wants to build upon the work that has been done in the past to breed more success.
“I want to make sure that we create an experience that people will look back on as one of the best times in their life. In regards to results on the pitch, we will strive to win every match and competition we are involved in but never at the sacrifice of the players’ development. To win BUCS would be fantastic and is certainly achievable, and a position in the top 6-8 of the Midland Alliance would be a realistic target also.”
Since his arrival, Kieran McKenna has been appointed as first team assistant coach. Kieran joined the club in 2009 managing the second team before spending last year in the first team set-up under Tom Curtis. He spent seven years as a professional at Tottenham Hotspur before a hip injury brought a premature end to his playing career. Mclaren has expressed his delight in securing McKenna’s services, whilst also saying that he himself has settled in very quickly to his new post:
“Everybody has been so helpful. I have had some time to find my feet before getting on with preparations for the new season, but I was very excited about the role right from the moment I applied for the job and that has only increased in the time since I have started.”
He continued by adding:
“My plans are to have the squad in as best condition physically and mentally for the season ahead and to start to get across to the players my ideas on how the game should be played. All I expect from the players is enthusiasm, commitment and some discipline.”
When asked about individual players he was less forthright, but did say some IMS All-stars will get their chance in the main squad this time around.
“I am not one for singling people out, but what I will say is that Loughborough has always, and will always attract young footballers of a very high standard and so long as we provide the right kind of environment for them to continue their development then "stars of the future" will be often emerge.
“I am well aware of the progression players from IMS have made in the club over recent years and the situation for these lads is the same as any other player, you will be given an opportunity to showcase your ability and if you are good enough and show the right commitment you will play. In terms of naming individual players who might make the step, I don't believe in singling people out, but as I say the door if definitely open and a couple are in contention.”
One such player is Pat Yates, the Cayley centre-back who put in an impressive display for the All-Stars back in the spring. He told Label that he is glad to have the opportunity to show what he can do at the higher level:
“I’m looking forward to having the chance to play football for Loughborough, it's good to know that performances for your hall and the IMS All-Stars can get you that chance.”
Yates will be amongst the rest of the players who return for BUCS pre-season on September 26th.
Club President, Peter Simmons, said that he is looking forward to seeing how the likes of Yates progress this season:
“Since 2007 we have had 37 players progress into the football club from IMS Allstars. We expect this year to be no different and so far we have offered places to Callum Leslie-Draper (Towers), Danny Lowton (Butler Ct), Patrick Yates (Cayley), Shaun Mulvenna (Butler Ct), and Matt O'Brien (Bill Mo). They will be joining us for BUCS pre-season. There are also a few players who we are monitoring and expect to progress through.”
Label Online will be keeping tabs on the club’s progress throughout the winter, while you can tune into Loughborough Campus Radio on a Wednesday afternoon, from 2 till 5, where the BUCS Live team will bring you live and exclusive coverage of all home fixtures.
Club trials are due to take place on Friday 30th September, where Mclaren, McKenna and co will be scouting for new talent amongst the University’s fresh intake.
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