Ipswich Athletic manager Mark Howard relishing new role despite run of defeats

MARK Howard has had a baptism of fire as manager of Ipswich Athletic.

Howard replaced his father-in-law, the long-serving Jimmy Marjoram who has taken over as chairman, three matches and three defeats into the new Touchline SIL Senior Division season.

And six more defeats later, Athletic are propping up the table without a single point. But Howard, who has been with the club for 14 years, is relishing his new role.

“I have always wanted this challenge, having been reserve-team manager for the past two years.

“Jimmy and I worked out we had lost 13 senior players from last season, leaving us with just two, and Jimmy was finding it hard to attract new players.

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“I have had to promote players from last season’s reserve squad, and we are finding it tough at the moment.

“I have been on the phone every night trying to attract new players, but because the season is under way it is hard to do so, although we have got a couple of irons in the fire.

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“Players are sitting on the bench at other Senior clubs when they can come and play for Ipswich Athletic and help us pull up the table.

“But the reserve players who have stepped up are now realising they can be Senior players, and it is only a matter of time before we start getting results.

“I can’t ask any more from my players – they have given me 100 per cent every week and given a good account of themselves. Our first four games were all against teams I expect to be in the top five at the end of the season, but in our last three games we have been winning 1-0 and then conceded either just before or after half time.”

Athletic tomorrow host Grundisburgh, who have picked up after a shaky start to the season.

Howard, who has Lee Whitmore as his assistant an Andrew Jacobs as coach, said: “I kept telling my players ‘look at Grundisburgh – they are second bottom and we are bottom’ – but in the last couple of games they have picked up.

“It will be hard for us, but we will give it our all and see how it goes.”

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