Daniels tells Norfolk Senior Cup winning Gorleston side: ‘Let’s finish higher than 12th next season’

Gorleston boss Richard Daniels has laid down the gauntlet to his Norfolk Senior Cup winning squad by insisting they must improve on last season's mid-table league finish.

The Greens enjoyed a memorable first campaign back in the Ridgeons (now Thurlow Nunn) Premier Division finishing a more-than respectable 12th.

However, after a hugely promising start to their 'top-flight' return, Daniels believes there's no reason his Emerald Park outfit should not finish higher than they did last time round.

The Gorleston boss said: 'We can definitely improve on 12th. We would love to retain the Norfolk Senior Cup and we're looking at making progress in the FA Vase and FA Cup – which would help the club financially – but we want to move forward in the league.

'Every summer people predict teams will do well and because we started well last season people touted us as a top-four side. We won't be making big predictions now, even though we've strengthened, because we'll keep our feet on the ground.

'However, I expect us to finish higher than we did if we stick together and keep believing. The team spirit was fantastic towards the end of the season – after we had a horrible run during the winter – and we've got to build on it.

'From February we started to win ugly and that's a good thing because we're a very good footballing side as well, like we showed in the Norfolk Cup final. We seem to have got rid of that soft centre and there's a really good feeling about the place.'

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Gorleston's 2-0 Carrow Road triumph over Thetford Town was the victory that catapulted the club's progression to a wider audience, including eyes of those on the continent.

Former Norwich City Academy star George Jermy, who has played professional football in Australia and Spain, has returned to England after leaving Europe.

Daniels believes his side's Senior Cup triumph helped convince the 24-year-old playmaker the club was going places, even though the Greens boss admits he was shocked when Jermy agreed to sign a two-year contract.

Daniels said: 'We made a pact that last year's squad was good enough to have finished higher than 12th and we under-achieved.

'It's a young squad, it was our first season back in the Premier Division, and we decided we would bring in a few players. So we made a shortlist.

'We heard Wroxham and Lowestoft were after George so we didn't fancy our chances to be fair. We met the lad and he said he wanted to achieve something after being in Spain. It was a bit out of the blue when he said yes and signed.

'We thought it was a big coup when we signed Andy Howell and this is just as big. It shows the club is ambitious and going the right way – helped by us winning the Senior Cup.

'George asked really professional questions and we must have given the right answers because the pedigree of the clubs chasing him are bigger than ours.

'He comes with a huge reputation, a great left foot, and will be seen as something of a big fish in our league. He'll be expected to perform and will need to hit the ground running.'

Germy may be the most high-profile of Daniels' summer signings but as he prepares for his fourth season at the Emerald Park helm, the passionate manager is equally delighted by his two other captures of the close season.

Ricci Butler, a wide player who is comfortable operating as a striker, has agreed to return to the club while Carl Poppy, a 'versatile' midfielder, has decided to swap Norwich United for Gorleston.

Daniels said: 'Ricci's a player I've wanted back ever since he left here three seasons or so ago so I'm delighted he'll be back in a green shirt next season.

'A lot of people didn't want him to go in the first place and he had a bit of a point to prove. He enjoyed his time at Acle and did well in a good Haven Bridge side so I guess we came back in for him at the right time.

'There was no chasing from me, we had one conversation, and he said yes. I'm sure as an ex-Gorleston talent he can come back to go on and be even better than he was before.

'Carl is so versatile and another player I've been keeping an eye on. All three of the lads will add some much-needed experience to us. We said we'd bring in lads who wouldn't be just squad players so there's going to be some huge competition for places.'

Stuart Larter will be Daniels' assistant next season but first-team coach Matty Potter has departed. The Gorleston manager thanked the 'excellent coach' for what he did at the club and has since replaced him with Mike Guymer, who has left Kirkley & Pakefield.