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Slimmed down Rossendale to rely on youth
ROSSENDALE coach Tim Fourie hopes it will be a case of quality and not quantity as his side kicks off their National League Three North campaign at home to Stockport on Saturday.
Dale have one of their smallest squads in recent years but Fourie insists the club’s youth policy can pay dividends this term.
The Marl Pits side had a difficult season last year following reaching the play-offs the previous year.
But Fourie, who is determined to finally keep his boots hung up this season, says the club will be pushing for the top spots once again.
“We have a very small squad this year, much smaller than in recent years, so in terms of strength in depth we may struggle.
“But we have some quality youngsters coming through at the club and with some of the older players I am sure we can have a successful season.”
Flanker Andy Dauncy has put his playing days on hold to concentrate on his studies – although he may return later in the season – while Wynand Van Zyl, who can play winger or centre, has left to join Rochdale.
And Fourie himself, now 46, is hoping his playing days are over.
“I’ve been trying to retire for the last six years but I keep on playing,” he said. “I have purposely not trained this summer so hopefully I will be able to finally hang up my boots!”
However, Alex Isherwood has rejoined the club from Lymm to bolster the club’s back row options.
And Fourie believes young players such as Tom Bedlow, Sam Greenwood, Danny Harrison and Sam Lowthian – who was a try-scoring sensation in his debut season last year – will be a big influence this year.
“We have had a successful Colts team in recent years and now some of those players are coming through to the seniors and holding down first team places.”
“Then we have the old war horses like Steve Nutt and Danny Collins to guide them as well while our captain Jamie Albinson will be very important for us as well.”
That blend of youth and experience has been in evidence in the warm-up games against Kendal and Longton while the pre-season build up finished with a match against Macclesfield on Saturday.
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