Robins’ changes on and off pitch

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NORTH Shields FC manager Anthony Woodhouse is feeling relaxed ahead of the new campaign in which he will focus gaining promotion into Division one of the Northern League.

The Robins missed out on a place in the top division last season by one place, despite boasting one of the best defensive records in the league.

Woodhouse said: “There has only ever been one ambition since I took over at North Shields and that was to get promoted into division one.

“We came close last season, which was extremely disappointing because there was so much hard work and effort put in, on and off the pitch.

“However, it wasn’t to be as we had a little stutter near the end of the season.

“I feel a lot more relaxed this year at the start of a season than I ever have as I’ve managed to retain every team member except one.

“I don’t need to run around trying to replace or strengthen as I still feel the squad I have are good enough to compete in the first division.

The 2011-12 campaign welcomes new assistant manager after Andy Bowman, who stepped in to the position left vacant when Graham Fenton departed the club near the end of last season.

A further change sees Martin Graham move into a coaching role within the Robins’ make up.

Woodhouse, pictured, added: “I’ve worked with Andy since I took over and I think it goes without saying that his input is fantastic.

“I gave Andy the manager’s award this year as he spends hours and hours prepping the warm-ups, training and pre-season, and the players respect this input.

“As for Martin, he won club man of the year as the committee have realised how much he has to offer – which prompted me into offering him a role that means he may not be playing as much as he would like but he will offer an awful lot off the pitch.”

As well as securing a new management team, Woodhouse has strengthened his defence with the signing of former Esh Winning player Stephen Salter.

Salter is typically a centre half, but can play in centre midfield too, and there are possibly two or three more additions coming to Shields before the season gets underway in August.