After a month in charge at Hallmark Security League club Widnes, manager Joey Dunn says he is happy with the way his new charges are shaping up.
Five wins and a draw in six games is a decent return for any new manager, and Joey is quick to praise his players for the job they have done so far.
“We’ve done all right, although I think there is a bit of the new manager syndrome there at the moment”, he said.
“As a manager you always have to be mindful that it’s not the manager who goes out on the pitch it’s the players, and the players have to take all the credit, they have been great.
“We have got a really good group of lads, although we have changed a few around and brought a few in. We have some hungry players and I think that is how you would describe the way we play.
“We look like a hungry team, playing with desire and as a manager if you have got that you are halfway there”.
It’s not just the players who are attacking the job in hand with gusto, as Joey himself admits he is enjoying life back in the managerial chair after leaving Runcorn Linnets in the summer, and planning on taking a break from club involvement.
“I was enjoying the break and just going and watching games for enjoyment, rather than from a football perspective as a manager and analysing things, because it does give you a different set of eyes”, he said.
“I was quite happy going around games, seeing people from around the non-league world, having a coffee and chatting about things, and managers getting in touch about players.
“So I was quite comfortable but obviously the Widnes job came up, and now I am back involved, batteries are fully recharged and I’m loving all the things I liked about being a football manager again”.
Although he is no stranger to the league, Joey’s recent experience was at Premier Division level, but admits he has been impressed with what he has seen of the First Division so far.
“I think the league is really competitive. We drew with Daisy Hill the other week, and I saw them against City of Liverpool and they beat them, and were really good.
“We played Cheadle in my first game, and then I saw them against Remyca. They can score goals and have a good cohesive way of playing and you can see they have been successful, and I am expecting them to come good.
“I think there are a few teams who will pick up again and make it even more competitive as the season goes on.
“The new clubs have certainly brought the standards up in the First Division, most of the new clubs I’ve seen are decent sides, and there are the old protagonists from years gone by like Alsager who are knocking about.
“So I think the standard this year is really good. The competitiveness in games is no less than the Premier League and I think the quality’s good as well. It’s a good league”.
As far as the rest of the season is concerned, Widnes have a bit of catching up to do if they are to challenge for one of the automatic promotion spots, but Joey insists that he is not looking too far ahead.
“It’s a bit different in this league, as instead of just one going up, it’s two and you have the play off places as well. But we have 75 points to play for yet, so I don’t even look at that.
“With the experience I had at Linnets, you don’t think about winning leagues, you just take a game at a time, and at the same time we are still building.
“We are casting the net far and wide, looking to get a bit of strength in depth and just push on from there.
“Six games in, we haven’t played a home game yet, every game has been an away game, but we’ve gone to the likes of Alport, Alsager and City of Liverpool and won.
“We’ve got games coming thick and fast and we just need to make sure we keep on doing it. The quicker we can bridge that gap and get into the play off places, the better”.