Manly United are gearing up for an improved effort in the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition in 2016.
Coach Paul Dee had his side in the hunt for a top-six finish but fell agonisingly short, three points off sixth-placed Rockdale City Suns.
Manly lost three out of their last five games which proved costly, particularly having lost crunch games against eventual finalists Wollongong Wolves and then relegation threatened Parramatta FC.
Finals remains the target for this season, as Dee hopes minor improvement in the squad represents better performances in crunch games.
“We’re similar to last year but overall we’ve boosted the total depth of the squad,” Dee said.
“It’s a well-balanced squad with better quality.”
Australia under-20 striker Dejan Pandurevic is the star signing and will have to fill the boots of the departed Chris Payne, while Dee will also be able to call upon new import Luke Giverin who spent his junior days at Manchester United.
“He’s played at some good clubs and he’s still on 22 or 23,” Dee said.
“But finals are the ultimate goal. We play to win, but the main expectation is that we continuously improve.
“I’ve been in the job for two-and-a-half years now and as always I’m really motivated to being the best out of the players I have and achieve the best results for the club.”
Brendan Cholakian, Sam Gallagher and Daniel Bragg will all return for another season with the club, but Dee is looking forward to seeing how Manly junior Aidan Hancock contributes to the side in his debut season.
“He’s one of the prolific juniors we’ve got at the club,” Dee said.
“It’s his first season in the seniors and he’s a versatile central midfielder who can also play in defence, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes.”
PLAYER TO WATCH: Dejan Pandurevic
The Australia under-20 striker carries a lot of responsibility for Manly United this season, with the youngster set to lead the line in his first season at the club and will be expected to fill the void left by Chris Payne.
SQUAD: Travis Oughtred, Sam Gallagher, Kieren Paull, Jamie Lobb, Rhys Williams, Henry Gallagher, Daniel Saric, Daniel Bragg, Adam Parkhouse, Dylan Whitlock, Travis Cooper, Dom Ferguson, Nathan Sim, Brendan Cholakian, Dejan Pandurevic, Dane Milovanovic, Luke Giverin, Shervin Adeli