Experience on the shopping list but Potters Bar boss has eyes set on a brighter season

PUBLISHED: 10:35 21 April 2020

Potters Bar Town manager Lee O'Leary is already turning his eyes towards next season. Picture: DANNY LOO

Potters Bar Town manager Lee O'Leary is already turning his eyes towards next season. Picture: DANNY LOO

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While planning for next season cannot fully begin due to the uncertainty surrounding sport after the coronavirus pandemic has passed, Potters Bar Town manager Lee O’Leary has already turned one eye to the new campaign.

Potters Bar Town manager Lee O'Leary with assistant Jon Mackie in the background. Picture: DANNY LOOPotters Bar Town manager Lee O'Leary with assistant Jon Mackie in the background. Picture: DANNY LOO

The Scholars were told earlier in the month that their Isthmian League Premier Division season would be declared null and void with all results expunged from the history books.

They were sitting 14th and comfortably mid-table when that call came, almost an equal distance away from the promotion play-offs as they were the relegation zone.

And in what was only their second season at the third step of the non-league pyramid, that was a position not to be sniffed at.

However, O’Leary believed they could have done better and with the lessons learned from the aborted year, he is planning an assault on the top half of the division next time around.

He said: “We definitely need to add in the experienced part, lads who still have that little bit of youthfulness in them with that added bit of experience.

“But we need to add in quality as well. We fell short a couple of times against the better sides, the likes of Cray Wanderers and Enfield Town.

“We’ll be doing our upmost to recruit in those areas but no doubt every manager will tell you the same thing.

“It’ll be a tough off-season to recruit the right players but it’s what keeps me exciting and keeps me motivated.”

Recruiting when there are so few concrete details on when the new season will begin and what format it will take provides difficulties to all football managers, not just the Scholars’ manager.

But the actual recruitment is no different to what he would have done had this been just a regular off-season.

“I’m always striving to improve the squad and that’s what we’re looking at doing,” said O’Leary.

“But it’s difficult to start planning now and even morally it doesn’t feel right to go out and start approaching players.

“I don’t know where I stand with the club at the minute in terms of budget either as I don’t know how hard this is going to hit.

“Once we are a week or two further down the line we’ll know more about where we are and we can start recruiting properly.”

He is also finding the differing approaches across the various professional and non-professional levels of the game problematic.

He said: “Getting pre-season fixtures together is difficult but at least we have had some sort of clarification on our league and where we stand.

“Within our pyramid there are loads of different leagues and they are all individual in their own way but in a crisis like this, mixed messages isn’t great.

“It would have been better for everyone to come together and made the decision.

“I’m just happy I didn’t have to make it.”


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