Much like Andy Legg who we spoke to last week, Sean Eardley is a club legend who has returned to the hotseat recently with great expectations rightly or wrongly placed on him for the future.
So far though, so good for Eardley at Llandudno, as the Seasiders sit third in the JD Cymru North standings, hot on the heels of Airbus UK Broughton and Guilsfield ahead of them, and we caught up with the fan favourite manager recently to find out more about the club’s start to the season.
“The players have been absolutely brilliant up to now, and where we are is a good place to be because we’re churning out results and performances to match. We have a very confident dressing room at the minute, but we’ve got a run of fixtures ahead that are going to be challenging.
“I look around the dressing room and know we’ve got a great mix of experience and quality and they’re all vying for each other’s places, so there is healthy competition and that is really helping us too.
“We’re keeping our feet on the ground, but we know we’re beginning to click as a unit and we’re very happy with where we are. We’re a new team so top six was our realistic aim, but we’re exceeding that at the minute and it is very exciting.”
“This team has been built out of loyalty and ambition.”
Assembling a superb squad including players with European experience and international caps to their name, Maesdu is arguably home to a group of players with the quality to compete well with some of the teams in the JD Cymru Premier, and that has surely only heightened the expectations placed on Eardley.
The manager discussed the process of assembling that squad, how he is managing the expectations there are on him and his team to deliver, and how the positivity around the club is helping create an atmosphere for success.
“I know there are expectations on me here but I embrace them. I can see the ground from my house, I work at the local secondary school and a lot of people in the community know me and what the club means to me, so it helps inadvertently to have that connection with the club and my roots here.
“I have a fantastic group of players at my disposal and a management team that is excellent, as well as a board and group of volunteers here that is working to do everything to make this club achieve their aims, and it is nice to be surrounded by that positivity and unity – it is very motivating for us.
“Of course I want my hometown club flying. This team has been built out of loyalty and ambition, seeing where I and the club want this club to be in three or four years. I wouldn’t have come here if we didn’t have ambition as a club, and we’re very excited for what the future does hold for us.”
“I look back on my Caernarfon Town days fondly.”
Rising to particular prominence as a manager for Caernarfon Town FC in the JD Cymru Premier, it will have disappointed many of the Cofi Army to see Eardley move on from The Oval when he took the opportunity to lead his hometown club, and he admits he gets asked questions by fans and friends whether he made the right decision moving on from the JD Cymru Premier giants.
“I still get asked if I’ve made the right decision leaving Caernarfon to come here, but I feel I went about the process the right way and made the board aware there was going to be interest and that it was something I wanted to consider doing.
“The JD Cymru Premier is such a big commitment, as well, and is virtually non-stop in terms of making sure your club is ready on the pitch, off the pitch, everything is available etc. and I just felt a move to Tier Two – which I am loving and finding to be a very exciting challenge – was right for me.
“This is a league that is growing from strength-to-strength as well and to help a club I love be a part of that and try and be successful within that is something that I really enjoy and really attracted me to come here. I look back on my Caernarfon days fondly, I am forever indebted to them, and I’m sure I’ll return there on the terraces soon.”
“Who is to say we can’t win it all this year?”
With a third of the season already in the books, Llandudno have proven that their form so far has been no fluke as they’ve only tasted defeat once in 11 outings and won eight of those fixtures.
Whilst the form guides at this stage can be considered somewhat of an indicator of what to expect from teams in the coming weeks and months, Eardley does expect a charge to come from some of the teams ranked beneath them in the standings at present.
“There’ll be a lot of changes between now and the end of the season, for sure, and there are teams beneath us who are certainly going to make a charge, but our challenge is to maintain what we’ve done to start the season. As long as we have a full-strength team, we can beat anybody in this league.
“We’re a third of the way through and have Buckley, Prestatyn, Airbus and Llangefni in our next four which will be very tough, before a winter period where pitches become more difficult, so there are big challenges ahead that we’ve got to get right.
“In the New Year we’ll be on the home stretch and then we’ll know what we’re looking like achieving, but who is to say we can’t win it all this year? It’s something we want to embrace and the next few months are certainly going to be exciting.”
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