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Jay Saunders: Margate boss interested in long-term deal

By Matthew Panting

Jay Saunders has admitted he’s got one eye on the future after taking over as Margate boss.

The former Maidstone manager took over on Thursday at the Bostik Premier strugglers – agreeing a deal until the end of the season.

Gate sit five points and three places outside the relegation zone so Saunders is keen to secure their safety before committing long-term.

Jay Saunders' first task is to keep Margate up. Picture: Andy Jones
Jay Saunders' first task is to keep Margate up. Picture: Andy Jones

“The main thing for me is getting those points on the board,” said Saunders. “We’re in the position that we are.

“It’s something I’m interested to talk about at the end of the season but for us it’s the short term – and that’s staying in this league.

“People can say Margate have got too much to go down but we are where we are – we’re in a relegation battle.

“All that other stuff for the future can be put on hold until we’re safe.

“If we get safe in the next five or six games then we’ll sit and have a chat but at the moment the main focus is to get points on the board.”

Saunders has watched plenty of Margate’s games this season, and is already familiar with the likes of Alex Flisher, Frannie Collin and Tom Mills who enjoyed success with him at Maidstone.

He is keen to add to his strikeforce – as well as bring in one extra defensive option – but knows that injuries have played a major part in Margate’s season to date.

“You’re never in a false position because the table doesn’t lie but for me they’ve been unfortunate with the injuries they’ve had,” said Saunders. “The Flishers and the Frannie Collins will get goals.

“If we can add one or two then I’m confident with what we’ve got that we can climb the table.”

Margate's Joseph Hungbo on the ball agaisnt Tonbridge. Picture: Don Walker
Margate's Joseph Hungbo on the ball agaisnt Tonbridge. Picture: Don Walker

Saunders has already identified goals as Margate’s biggest problem.

They’ve scored just 27 times in 29 league games – the lowest in the division.

“In the final third we’ve got to be better,” noted Saunders. “I don’t want to judge us too harshly. I saw the game against Dorking who are top of the league on Tuesday and then Tonbridge who have won five games on the bounce.

“For large periods of the game we were good and well worth a point.

“Obviously, goals from open play has been a problem. We had chances and haven’t taken them.

“We need a centre-forward, a focal point up there. I thought Alex Flisher was excellent (at Tonbridge), a real menace to them, but he can offer so much more out wide.

“You need goals and that’s one thing it’s clear we haven’t got. Defensively, we’re good and organised.

“The back five were very good but we need that quality in the final third.”

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