Pitt targets top-eight finish

FC CLACTON boss Steve Pitt has lost three players recently to Ryman League clubs – but considers it a compliment rather than rueing his luck.

Pitt, who took over at the Rush Green Bowl last summer after David Coyle stepped down having guided the club to promotion to the Ridgeons League Premier Division, is philosophical about players wishing to play at a higher.

He said: “We have lost three players to Ryman League clubs – Kevin Coyle has gone to Redbridge; Chris Ribchester to Heybridge Swifts and Liam Whittaker, who wasn’t getting a kick at AFC Sudbury, came to us but has since gone back and just signed a contract with them.

“I have also had an approach from another Ryman League club for one of my players, but he doesn’t know that yet!

“I consider it a compliment to lose three players to Ryman League clubs in the space of a month. Not many clubs move on young players to the next level, and whilst I want to be successful, I don’t think you can stand in the way of players who wish to progress by playing at a higher level.”

Pitt, whose side currently sit in 11th place, has ambitions of his own about managing FC Clacton in the Ryman League, and is pleased with the progress the club is making at present.

“My remit was to keep us in the division, and we are doing better than either of the other promoted sides (Great Yarmouth and Brantham Athletic) at this stage.

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“I am not here to go through the motions. I am here to make this football club successful. We have a squad of players who want to be at this club and want to do well at this club.

“We want to finish the season in a positive manner, which we are capable of doing, and maybe get into the top eight or 10. If I can keep the nucleus of what we have got the aim is to push on next season.

“I feel I have got the makings of a very good side. My goalkeeper Paul Rutherford is as good as anyone at this level; centre back Matt Stace has had a torrid time in the last 18 months with injuries but is getting fitter and stronger; Martin Calver is a very good offensive midfielder at this level and Darren Bethell will complement Ray Turner, who is a proven scorer.

“The spine of the team is what I consider you need is necessary to go forward. Added to that we have put defenders Matt Cripps, the Suffolk Under-18 defender who is only 17, and Lee Peacock, who is 19, both under contract, which is a statement of intent by the club.

“When we have our strongest XI out we have a very good mix of youth and experience. We are still a little bit inconsistent, which we need to iron out, but we are very well placed to finish in the top eight.”

After taking one point from their previous four matches FC Clacton returned to winning ways in midweek with a 2-1 victory at Felixstowe & Walton United, and today host second-from-bottom Debenham LC in what Pitt described as a “winnable” fixture.

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