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Newmarket Town manager Michael Shinn will be more ‘ruthless’ in bid to enjoy a more positive 2023/24 season

Manager Michael Shinn has vowed to get ‘ruthless’ in his bid to guide Newmarket Town to an improved campaign.

The Jockeys endured somewhat of an inconsistent 2022/23 season in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, eventually ending up in 12th position – their lowest finish since 2015/16.

Shinn has pinpointed a lack of player availability as one of the leading factors in the team’s struggles to string together positive results – and he wants to see marked improvement this time around.

Michael Shinn intends to be more ‘ruthless’ this coming season. Picture: Mark Westley
Michael Shinn intends to be more ‘ruthless’ this coming season. Picture: Mark Westley

“Ultimately, we were short last season because I didn’t have a big enough squad,” he said.

“We didn’t have cover and it was something we ended up having to accept that people weren’t always here.

“I’m not doing that this season. I had a gut-full of it last season and I need players that are available.

“I get it, sometimes things pop up and you can’t be there, but we can’t have another season where it’s tough going most weeks due to the availability of players.

“I’ve been really loyal to the players over the period of time that I’ve been here and last season was certainly an eye-opener.

“Will I be more ruthless this season? I hope so because for long periods last season I was getting criticism for things that were out of my control.

“At the same time I know I’m the manager and I do take the responsibility, but we’ll look to be much stronger and more consistent.”

And providing that Shinn gets his wish, he believes that a push for the newly-installed play-offs should not be out of the question.

His options have been bolstered with the arrivals of Josh Lee (Mildenhall Town), Jake Eady (Walsham-le-Willows), Andy Ballaster (Histon) and Ash Walter (Ely City), while Shinn has also been impressed by the progress of the younger members of the squad.

“With the introduction of the play-offs, a lot of teams will be looking at those,” he added.

“We’re no different. I’m not going to sit here and say I want to be mid-table, that would be ridiculous.

“There will be a huge amount of teams that will be looking to get into them and we’re one of them.

“We’ve got a new group and the young players have come back at an even better level, so that gives us more of a chance.

“I think we’ll be more of a solid unit and now we’ve got the players at the top end of the pitch to hurt teams.”

While the majority of teams will get their seasons under way on Saturday, Newmarket will have to wait until Tuesday night when Hadleigh United will be the visitors to the Tristel Stadium (7.45pm).

They will then be in action on Friday, August 4 away at Thetford Town in the Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round.

The tie had been due to be played on the Saturday but it was moved forward a day at the request of the hosting team.