New Carluke Rovers co-boss Paul Davies wants to improve to at least top half league finish next season

Paul Davies, right, and Craig Gupwell have big ambitions for Carluke Rovers next season (Pic courtesy of Graham Robb Photos)Paul Davies, right, and Craig Gupwell have big ambitions for Carluke Rovers next season (Pic courtesy of Graham Robb Photos)
Paul Davies, right, and Craig Gupwell have big ambitions for Carluke Rovers next season (Pic courtesy of Graham Robb Photos)
Newly appointed Carluke Rovers co-manager Paul Davies has been outlining the ambitions he and fellow co-boss Craig Gupwell have at John Cumming Stadium, six weeks after the duo quit these roles at Newmains United.

Davies, 44, won’t get the chance to take charge of a competitive Rovers match until Saturday, March 19, when the team currently sitting 12th play their penultimate West of Scotland League Conference B game of the season at Royal Albert.

Longer term, sights are already being focused on next season, when the leagues throughout the pyramid will be less ‘lopsided’ due to promotion and relegation reducing the current disparity caused by divisions being made up of big and much smaller clubs in the conferences’ fledgling stages.

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"Next season I believe we should be up in the top half of the league if not challenging,” Davies told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette. "We realise there will be a lot of derbies because it probably looks like Lanark and Lesmahagow will be in our league as well.

"It’s certainly going to make it a lot more exciting.”

Davies and Gupwell arrive at Rovers having pretty much taken over the complete running of Newmains United after most of the committee quit last summer. They did well during their time there.

"When we took over I think the club had only finished outside the bottom two once in the previous 10 years,” Davies added.

"Within that 10-year period they had only finished off bottom place twice.

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"Then in the four years we were there we were never in the bottom place.

"We just felt we had taken the club as far as we could. Where do you take the team after that?

"They don’t pay wages, and we probably felt that going into next season it was going to be another rebuilding job."

Although he and Gupwell only departed Newmains in January, Davies and his fellow boss haven’t been managing a team on a Saturday much in recent times due to the frequently unplayable state of Newmains’ Victoria Park pitch.

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And he insisted that no bad blood has resulted with Newmains folk as a result of their departure.

"Newmains had no games in November and December,” Davies said. “We only took charge of one home game since then.

"The likelihood is we’ll be in Newmains’ division next year. I’ve a lot of great memories there, Newmains is a club that’s still close to my heart.

"Me and Craig remained there until the new people took over (including interim manager David Menelaws who has initially joined until the end of the season), it’s very amicable.

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"We believe they’re the right people for the job at Newmains United and we are on friendly terms.

"It’s not as if we left under bad terms. It was just circumstances so I’ve got a lot of time for the guys at Newmains.”

Davies is delighted to be back in the game at Carluke Rovers, his home town team.

"I was wanting straight back into football and when the Carluke job came up that was the one I wanted,” he added.

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"I was brought up in the town, it means a lot to me. I know the committee well, I know the team quite well in terms of I would go there when we didn’t have a fixture.

"For me it’s pride, it’s something that I’m really looking forward to.”

Davies revealed that Rovers will play Finnart in a friendly this Saturday – venue had still to be arranged at time of going to press – and the John Cumming Stadium men would be looking to play weekly friendlies between now and May.

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