North squad still strong despite the departures
MICK LE PREVOST is refusing to say what North are looking to achieve this season.
MICK LE PREVOST is refusing to say what North are looking to achieve this season. The new boss at Northfield is in charge of a star-studded outfit who have been perennial bridesmaids over the last few years. Last season they finished runners-up, 15 points behind Bels, after many people had predicted them to take the honours.
'I won't tell you what our aims are for this season: that's going to be kept in the club,' said Le Prevost. 'I'm keeping my cards close to my chest.'
The popular former junior coach took over the reins from Trim Morgan in May.
He has not had the easiest of starts in his new role. He has had to witness something of a mass exodus from the club.
Goalkeeper Paul de Garis, Michael Wilson, Ewen Beacom and the Duff twins, Ben and Tom, have gone to Sylvans. Joining these key players down in St Peter's are talented juniors with whom Le Prevost worked at North, Sam Matthews and Anthony O'Regan.
Another youngster to go is centre back Naro Zimmerman, who has returned to Bels.
'Obviously I'm disappointed they have left but I can't guarantee everyone first-team football,' said Le Prevost.
'I've told all the players that and I don't care who they are. I've always been like that.
'To be fair, I've still got a helluva squad and I'm going to have a headache picking the team.
'That's what all managers want.'
To alleviate this loss of personnel, Le Prevost picked up signings Simon Tostevin, Richard Davey and Matt Dorrian.
Tostevin was Rovers' main man last season as the 6ft 4in. striker banged in 25 goals for the Port Soif club.
Goalkeeper Davey joins from Sylvans and Dorrian, a former North and island junior star, has just returned to the island after qualifying as a doctor.
Unfortunately Davey is out of action for a couple of months of the season with knee-cartilage problems and Tostevin is suspended until Monday as North's season starts in earnest tonight with the Martinez Cup against Bels.
They join six other Northerners who are currently unavailable to play due to suspensions, injuries and holidays. Simon Johns and Gavin Le Page are among those that are not able to feature and so is Kyle Stone.
The 19-year-old winger will, with Dave Rihoy, cause untold damage to opposing defences this season.
But Stone is currently serving a year-long suspension for a drugs-related offence. He was badly missed last season by North and he is awaiting a decision from the GFA as to whether he will be reinstated.
Also over the summer he had an ankle operation that sees him unable to play until the the middle of next month.
'He's still got his suspension from last year and I don't know what's going on because it's got nothing to do with me,' said Le Prevost.
'It's taken longer than it should. I feel sorry for the nipper and I'm actually pleased he's not ready to play football because I want him on the pitch.
'With Kyle on one wing and Dave on the other, we've got the best two wide players in the Channel Islands.'
On their day, North can produce the most attractive football in the island, with snappy short passes between the likes of Rihoy, Le Page and Jon Veron up front.
The signing of Tostevin has raised questions as to whether the dynamics of the team will change into more of a long-ball outfit.
'Not a chance: I'm not a long-ball merchant,' said Le Prevost.
'That's not the way we want to play football.'
Also another player at Le Prevost's disposal when he returns from Australia next month is Morgan. Le Prevost says he has no problems working with the former coach.
'He's a good footballer and is very experienced,' said Le Prevost.
'He's played at a high level and he is a good player to have around the club.'
North's backroom staff have undergone some changes as well with professional physio Juliet Higgs coming into the fold to replace Carl Bush who is off island for a few months. Veteran centre half Stuart Polson has taken over from Grant Chalmers as assistant coach, but he will still don his boots on the pitch.
Chalmers stepped down due to work commitments.
'I'm very much looking forward to the season and so is everyone else,' said Le Prevost. 'I was on the outside last season and the team didn't seem to be together. I want them to bond more, to socialise together and to be a closer unit.
'I think they are all enjoying themselves now. Let's see what the season brings.'
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