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Story posted: Friday, 25th August 1989

We can do it
Story courtesy of
Just over a year ago, then Gresley coach Phil Marandola predicted that Rovers would win the Banks’s League title. It wasn’t a bad forecast.
As it turned out – as if it really needs repeating – the Moatmen finished short of their ultimate goal by a whisker.

Marandola, clashing with manager Frank Northwood, departed mid-season under something of a cloud to be replaced by former Burton and Gresley defensive stalwart Steve Dolby, his playing aspirations curtailed by injury.

Dolby enjoyed remarkable success in his term in charge. Gresley have, indeed, lost just twice since he took over. And if that run of success carries on, Dolby will certainly go one better than his predecessors.

After seeing his side achieve a slightly nail-biting opening day win over Westfields on Saturday, Dolby predicted another tough campaign ahead.

“Reasonably happy” with the squad, Dolby revealed that he and boss Northwood are still searching for extra midfield strength. “We’ve strength in depth up front and at the back but not so many options in the middle.

Striker Tracey Norton will be out for at least six weeks but we’re not going to rush him back.

“We’re quite well covered in that department although Paul Acklam faces a suspension as does Dean Page. Having Brian Beresford back is a bonus. He’s always scored goals and he will again this season. But having said that we shared the goals round well last season and this time there’s no definite starter in the side, which shows strength in depth.

“I thought we were the best side in the league last year and we be playing a similar game again this time. What we’re looking for, though, is a good start. Last season we dropped 10 points from our first five games. Its’ vital to improve on that this time, because that bad start cost us the title – although there were several other things too!

“One or two players who’ve been on holiday pre-season will have to catch up on fitness. The hot weather took its toll today but we’re looking fitter.

“Obviously I think we can win the title and again that’s the main aim. But it’s looking like a stronger league this time. There will be at least six strong sides at the top and we’ve got to set our stall out to beat the rest. Games against the lesser sides are never easy to win as we showed several times last season and again today.”

Dolby lists Rushall – table toppers at one stage last season – Hinckley Town, Halesowen Harriers, Harrisons – who have signed several players from last season’s champions Blakenall – Paget and Oldbury as his top six but also fancies Rocester to be “pushing at the top”.

“They were quite a useful side last year and Alan Beaman has made a few good signings. We never beat them last season and we’ll be looking to improve on this time. Drawing games is no good this time – we’ve got to go out and win every game.”
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
10 Highgate United 29 -3 38
11 South Normanton Athletic 26 0 37
12 Worcester City 26 11 36
13 AFC Wulfunians 31 -6 36
14 Coventry Sphinx 25 -19 34
15 Tividale 23 -4 27
16 Haughmond 29 -29 26
17 Racing Club Warwick 24 -29 24
18 Lye Town 28 -31 18
19 Gresley 26 -22 16
20 Selston 25 -38 13

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