New boss aims to steer Yachtsmen back to success

Chris Wise Andy Baker is confident he can make the transition from respected youth team coach to the manager of one of Norfolk's most successful non-league teams.

Chris Wise

Andy Baker is confident he can make the transition from respected youth team coach to the manager of one of Norfolk's most successful non-league teams.

The man who made his name as one of the driving forces behind the highly successful Lakeford Juniors outfit was confirmed as Damian Hilton's successor as Wroxham manager at the weekend and will be in charge for this first time this evening when the Yachtsmen take on King's Lynn Reserves at The Walks.

Baker is already well known to the players following his title winning exploits with the rserves last season but, having spent the majority of his time in the game coaching youngsters, he knows he has got a big job on his hands at Trafford Park.

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"It's a big challenge, I know that - but it's a challenge I am really looking forward to," said the 41-year-old, who will be assisted by another qualified coach in Bob Malone.

"I have always been a very positive person and although this is a big step up for me I am confident I can do a good job for the club.

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"I have inherited a strong squad and it's one I'm really looking forward to working with. I have spent a lot of time coaching young lads and obviously it will be different dealing with senior players on a regular basis but it's the same game and I'm sure I'll cope.

"There are no airs and graces with me. It's not about the money or anything like that. It's all about the love of the game and this is a great opportunity."

Saturday's 3-1 home victory over Haverhill, overseen by caretaker boss Ian Thornton, left Wroxham eighth in the Ridgeons League Premier Division table, 15 points behind leaders Lowestoft.

It's not the sort of position the past-champions are accustomed to being in at this stage of the season - or any stage of the season come to that - but Baker is confident he can bring the good times back to Trafford Park.

"People are used to seeing us at the top of the table but I don't think I'm taking over with the club in a bad position," he said.

"Under Damian we had a good run in the FA Cup before losing to King's Lynn and were unlucky to draw Leiston, who are having a great season, in the FA Vase.

"In the league it has been a bit of a mixed bag but we're not too far adrift.

"It will be very difficult for us to win the league from here, I know that, but in this game you never say never.

"And there's still the Norfolk Senior Cup to go for as well."

Baker knows what it is like to win trophies for Wroxham after helping the club's reserve side win the Dolphins Autos Anglian Combination Premier Division title last term alongside Mark Wilkinson, who will now be in sole command of the second string.

As part of the existing set-up he will be able to move seamlessly into his new role and doesn't believe major surgery is required.

"I will be looking to add some strength in depth because a lot of the lads who were with me in the reserves last season have now moved on," he said.

"But overall we are in pretty good shape, as we showed at the weekend when we beat Haverhill."

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