Thank you Marine 1st team coach Ian Johnson for speaking to TCW. Ian who hails from the area is actually in his second spell as a Mariner after playing under Roly Howard in 2003-4 and prior to his role as 1st team coach held the position of assistant and interim manager.
TCW: Thank you Marine 1st team coach Ian Johnson for speaking to TCW. How different has the approach Neil and Alan have taken towards training and match preparation been in comparison to the previous coaching team?
Ian: Each coaching team have their own ways of doing things. I only worked with Tommy and Dom for a short period of time so was still getting used to the way they worked before Tommy’s resignation but from the first day Alan and Neil came in you could see they worked a different way. Match preparation and training preparation is more detailed and there is more homework done on each opponent we play and training is designed towards whoever we are playing that weekend.
TCW: You have been noticed watching the game from the sideline like a hawk as the match unfolds, is there anything you are particularly looking for during play?
Ian: I try to look out for lads positioning in and out of possession mainly and if i can help by shouting on instructions then i try to do my best as in the long run i hope it will help the team on the day. I think a few of the lads have selected hearing though! Either that or they just ignore me! It’s just something I’ve been brought up on really counting how many touches lads have? Are they getting out after clearing the ball? Are they getting back into position as quick as possible and trying to keep them switched on at all times.
TCW: Marine are unbeaten in 2019. Last 8 games have seen us win 5, draw 1, lose 1 making us at the time of writing the inform team in the league. What’s changed from 2018 to put the team in this position?
Ian: I think the main thing is confidence and getting the win away at bamber bridge. Even when we were on the run of not winning we were in every game apart from warrington at home so me Neil and Alan knew we weren’t far away from a change in results and when that happens you hope it kicks off a little run and for us it has. I think at this exact time we are top of the form table so hopefully we can keep up this form from now till the end of the season and finish as high as possible.
TCW: Just how far can this squad of players go this season, do you believe the play off places are achievable or is it one game at a time?
Ian: As I’ve just said hopefully we carry on this great run we are on and we can finish as high as possible in the league. We look at the next fixtures and give the lads little targets to try and aim for. Playoffs? Never say never stranger things have happened in football but in the main we do take it one game at a time and build from there.
TCW: What are your ambitions in the game and how much are you learning from Neil and Alan?
Ian: My ambitions at the moment are to keep learning the coaching/managing side of it and working with Neil and Alan I’m learning every week. Both of them are experienced in each field with Neil winning 3 titles including the league we are in now and one above and Alan is an ‘A’ licensed coach so from my point of view I couldn’t of wished for 2 lads better to learn off.
Also I would like to think I offer them good advice and they take it on board because we are in contact on a daily basis going over results/training/injuries and we all get on really well which is a big plus. As for the future who knows I’m just going to keep learning and see what happens in the future but for now I am certainly very happy at Marine and hope we can finish the season very strong.
TCW: What are your thoughts ahead of tomorrow’s game at Hednesford and what’s the dressing room morale like ahead of the game?
Ian: We are really looking forward to the hednesford game. We had a good result against them at our place although both teams will be different from that day as we know they have recently signed a couple of players and lost a couple from the team that played at our ground. But we go into the game with good morale/confidence so hopefully we can carry on our run with a victory but it’ll be another tough game and we will have to apply ourselves correctly
Photo credit @bernardchyzy