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New Canterbury City manager Keith Bird praises caretaker joint-bosses Sam Wilson and Dan Lawrence for the foundations they have laid

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New Canterbury City boss Keith Bird has praised the club’s caretaker management team for the foundations they have laid during their time in charge.

Dan Lawrence and Sam Wilson held the reins at City following the departure of Chris Woollcott for three matches in total.

New Canterbury City boss Keith Bird has praised the foundations laid at the club by Dan Lawrence and Sam Wilson who will become his assistants
New Canterbury City boss Keith Bird has praised the foundations laid at the club by Dan Lawrence and Sam Wilson who will become his assistants

They lost to Southern Counties East (SCEFL) Premier Division leaders Chatham last month before a draw at Bearsted and a 2-1 success over Rusthall last weekend - which ended an 11-match winless run.

“The first thing I want to say is Sam Wilson and Dan Lawrence, and also our goalkeeping coach Adrian Gower, those three guys have done a fantastic job keeping things going for the last three games,” said ex-Cray Wanderers and Tunbridge Wells manager Bird, who was appointed on Tuesday.

“They have done a great job, keeping the squad together and adding to it - so hats off to them.

“I’m very excited. Canterbury City is a great club, it has great supporters, very loyal supporters, and this season is about getting through to the end of the season - having as respectable a finish as we can after everything the club has gone through this year.

“Then we can start to build on that in the future.”

Lawrence and Wilson will remain at the club as assistants to Bird.

When asked what had attracted him to City, who are looking for a new ground next season, Bird replied: “There is a huge amount of potential.

"Obviously like all clubs who ground-share, our real future lies in, eventually, having our own ground again. That will be a few years away yet.

“But the club itself is very well-supported. We have a really committed set of people off-the-field as well, like all clubs at this level of football do.

“But long-term, Canterbury City is a club that deserves to - and can - push on. Once we have got our own facilities and additional revenue streams in the future, that will allow us to really push the club on. It’s a big club.

“Canterbury City captures a wide catchment area and the work Dan, Sam and Adrian have done in caretaker charge for the last few games gives us a good foundation to build upon for the remainder of the season.

“Our objective is to maintain our SCEFL Premiership status and enjoy the run in for the rest of the season.”

Bird had been chairman of league rivals Holmesdale but admitted the opportunity to manage once again was too good to turn down.

He explained: “I played myself and then, like most ex-players, you stay in the game by coaching and managing.

"I have been fortunate to have been involved with three great clubs before on the coaching and management side in Bromley, Cray Wanderers and Tunbridge Wells. I have got a lot of respect for them.

“Holmesdale was an opportunity to see it from the other side and be the chairman for a while, and help Holmesdale stabilise themselves back in the SCEFL Premiership.

“Lee Roots and the management have done a fantastic job, I’m really proud of Lee and the management team at Holmesdale. I had a great relationship with the rest of the committee at Holmesdale.

“It was a real shame to have to leave there.

“It’s a fantastic club with great people but the opportunity to get back into management was, ultimately, what I wanted to do.”

City, who sit 15th, visit bottom side Lordswood this Saturday before facing high-flying Deal on Tuesday.

Bird commented: “They are all important games, aren’t they? It doesn’t matter if you are top of the league or bottom of the table.

“Lordswood is a six-pointer for us. It’s really, really important to make sure we get three points out of the game.

“We will go there, looking to win. But we will go into every game, looking to get something out of it - whether it’s against Sheppey, Chatham, Glebe or Deal or whether it’s Lordswood.

"We will treat each team with the same respect.

“We will be organised, professional, and we will be looking to get the job done on Saturday and come away with three points.

“Obviously, we have got a string of challenging games in front of us. But every game, we will be looking to get something out of it.”

Bird didn't rule out bringing in some new players, although he says he's impressed with what he has seen - he watched City beat Rusthall.

“I think, from what I have seen and what Adrian, Dan and Sam have told me, we have got really good foundations there,” he said.

“We have got a great side that we can go forwards with. I'm not going to be coming in and making wholesale changes.

“There might be one or two things we do to strengthen down the road - maybe a little bit of experience potentially - but at the moment, we are happy with what we have got there.

“I’m looking forward to working with the lads, helping them be better and helping the club be better.”

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