DORCHESTER Reserves are under new management this season, but, as ever, the goal for the two men in charge remains the same.
Joint bosses Neil Mackie, the club’s former Under-18s’ manager, and Jay Keating have taken over from Dave Kiteley, who vacated the role after nearly leading the reserves to the Wyvern Premier League title last term.
Some silverware for Mackie, pictured, and Keating in their first campaign at the helm would be nice, however, preparing their players for first-team football is the top priority.
A number of players made the step up under Kiteley and, with a relatively small first-team squad this season, the reserves will be just as important as they have been in the past.
“We’ve had quite a few changes from last season, to the management and playing squad,” said Mackie, previously the boss of the club’s Under-18s.
“A number of lads have come in from the Bournemouth area where Jay has got a lot of contacts, and we are trying to get the age of the squad up a bit. I felt the reserves relied on the Under-18s a bit too heavily last season, and while it was good experience for the younger guys, it wasn’t great for the first team.
“We want to try and increase the age and maturity levels of the reserves so we can support the first team more.”
On his relationship with Keating, he added: “We’ve known each other for the last eight months and are both learning different things from one another.
“I’ve been able to bring my experience with the club and the players to this job and Jay has got a lot of good contacts in the Bournemouth area, as well as experience of lower league football. I think the two of us complement each other well.
“Our primary objective is producing players and getting them to push on.
“We’ve got some real quality in the squad and we’ll give it a good go.”
Mackie has got high hopes for several of his players including the likes of Luke Woodland and Chris Williams, who has already caught the eye of Magpies’ chief Phil Simkin.
The reserves get their campaign underway at home to AFC Totton on August 27.