Published: 06:00, 11 December 2019
| Updated: 18:09, 11 December 2019
Sheppey’s dedication and commitment on the training ground is paying dividends.
The Ites are just a point off second place in Southern Counties East after Saturday’s 4-1 victory at Tunbridge Wells stretched their winning run to five games.
They started training twice a week this season and assistant manager Jono Richardson feels they are reaping the benefits.
He said: “There’s good cohesion in the group – the extra session has helped with that.
“We’re now training twice a week and a lot of boys from south London are doing a 120-mile round trip, leaving work at half past three and making the effort to get here, to make it a success.
“That level of commitment doesn’t come lightly but they’re a really dedicated group and the team is performing.
“There’s only two players left from last season and when you’re bringing a new group together, you need that extra session.
“As a management and coaching team we’re accountable to the chairman and we need to do everything we possibly can to get positive results.
“If we didn’t train because of poor weather or poor pitches, you create an atmosphere of excuses.
“We’ve removed excuses from negative performances because we train whatever the weather, whatever the conditions.
“Ultimately, training is great because you educate players but it’s also good for cohesion and the development of physical fitness, so it has lots of benefits.”
Sheppey are out to continue their good run when they host struggling Erith & Belvedere at Holm Park this Saturday.
Richardson is enjoying life in the dugout having made the decision to stop playing and concentrate on his role as assistant to Ernie Batten.
“I’m only 31 but I always wanted to go down the management and coaching route,” said Richardson.
“Ernie gave me the opportunity last year to get involved, which was really enjoyable, and then at the end of the season he appointed me assistant manager.
“You only have to go to Sheppey and speak to Ernie and the chairman and the ambition at the club is clear. This is an exciting journey to be part of and it’s important we all enjoy it.
“It’s great experience working alongside Ernie.
“He’s a hugely-experienced superb manager and I’ve learned a huge amount from him in terms of coaching, managing players and in-game situations.”
Sheppey take on Tunbridge Wells in a development team game at Holm Park on Tuesday (7.45pm). A number of first-teamers are set to feature.