Mick Bradshaw admits he may have underestimated the quality of the Hellenic League Division One East.
The former Wealdstone and Chalfont St Peter coach did not have too much prior knowledge of the league, when he took over the reins from Dene Gardner in the summer.
Bradshaw’s first move was to bring in players with reserve and suburban league experience, which he believed was adequate to compete at this level.
He quickly realised he had made an error of judgement and oversaw a clearout at Tithe Farm, replenishing his squad with more experience players.
The Lane started to climb up the table and despite Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Milton United, Bradshaw’s team sit a respectable third in the division.
And with the right blend of youthful legs and wise old heads at his disposal now, the Rayners Lane manager is expecting to see the points start rolling in.
“I probably underestimated this league a little bit,” said Bradshaw, when summing up his first few months as boss.
“We took a lot of players out of Suburban League and reserve team football and thought they would be able to make the jump and compete at this level. The Hellenic Division is certainly stronger than I had anticipated.
“It’s something we’ve reflected on and had to look at again. That’s why we’ve strengthened the backline and put a bit more age in there. We also got rid of about 10 players who I felt weren’t willing to be coached.”
Having made significant changes to both his playing squad and training setup, Bradshaw feels he is starting to find the right formula.
“It’s a better atmosphere and a happier dressing room now,” he added. “It’s going to take a season for us to pull together. We’re just hoping to stay in the top five at Christmas.”