13:59 Monday 13 May 2013

Rowe takes full hold of reins at Gresley

Written byDAVID BROOME

MARTIN Rowe is targeting a play-off place for Gresley after being handed sole charge of the Moat Ground club.

The former assistant manager was widely tipped to be named as Gary Norton’s successor after taking joint charge of the Evo-Stik NPL First Division South club this season.

And with his position now formally ratified, Rowe has set his sights on improving the team’s 11th-place finish.

He told Mail Sport: “It’s a great opportunity for me, and I’m glad I’ve got the job, although I feel I’ve been doing it anyway.

“Since Gary got his new job, (coach) Steve Titterton and I have been looking after things for him a lot of the time.”

After back-to-back promotions under Norton, Gresley stabilised this season, something which Rowe believes is an achievement in itself, contrary to the view of a handful of disgruntled and unrealistic fans.

“We’ve come a long way in a short period of time, and playing-wise we’re ahead of schedule.

“We’ve hardly changed the team this season, and still finished mid-table.

“That might not be good enough for some people, but for the budget we’re on, I think we’re doing fine.

“But for a little wobble around January (when the Moatmen went seven games without a win) we could have been pushing for the play-offs.

“But it wasn’t to be this season.

“However, I think our next move up is going to be a gradual one.

“Our aim is to improve on this season and the target is the play-offs.”

Norton made the decision to leave Gresley this summer following a 10-year spell at the Moat Ground, with Rowe announced as the new boss at Saturday’s award ceremony, which saw Jordi Gough named players’ player of the year for the third year running.

The left-back also picked up the supporters’ player of the year gong for the second consecutive season, and completed a hat-trick of honours by winning the most man-of-the-match awards.

Jamie Barrett took the managers’ player of the year award, with Marc Goodfellow ending the season as top goalscorer, as well as winning the goal of the season accolade for his spectacular strike against Ilkeston in the FA Cup last October.

The reserve team voted for goalkeeper George Woodward as their player of the year, with Brad Metcalf scooping the manager’s award.

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