Diss Town captain pleased with progress made so far by new-look side
Captain Owen French is confident there is plenty more to come from Diss Town – whenever they are allowed back out on the field.
The Tangerines have been sidelined since December 12, firstly due to Covid-19 concerns and then the national lockdown.
They sit 10th in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North table having won four and drawn a further three of their 12 fixtures this term.
And considering boss Michael King, who was appointed in July, had to build an entire new squad from scratch during the summer, it’s a respectable position to find themselves in.
French arrived from Kirkley & Pakefield, and while highs and lows were to be expected, he has been pleased with the progress made so far.
“It’s a new team with a new manager. To be fair, the management team has done well to get in the players in such a short space of time – that was a big challenge,” said the skipper.
“We’ve seen some real glimpses of the football we are capable of, and we’ve looked like a side that could challenge the top teams.
“Then there has been some poor results where we’ve not really played as a team – all of that is to be expected.
“I’ve not worked with Kingy before but I can see in the way he coaches and the messages he puts across that he has a long-term plan.
“The players are all on board with it and that is key. We are all enjoying it as well.
“It’s quite a young squad and if we can stay together it should get better and better.”
While the Diss players have had some opportunities to get to know each other on the pitch, off it restrictions have prevented any genuine socialising from taking place.
French, who has featured 15 times in all competitions this season, believes having the opportunity to bond will also do wonders for results.
“We’re all desperate for a night out as a group,” he added.
“That is what non-league football is about, travelling together on the mini bus to and from games and maybe sharing a few beers.
“It does a lot for team bonding and we’ve not been able to do anything like that.
“We’ve had to adapt and to be fair we’ve got a good team cohesion already, but if we could make that even stronger it would help on the pitch.”
As captain, one of French’s major responsibilities is to ensure things knit together as best as possible.
It’s a role in which the defender is comfortable in, having previously skippered UEA and Kirkley’s reserve side.
“I’ve no issues with it. When I was at UEA, I was basically running the team and I had a lot of responsibilities,” he said.
“I suppose one of my best qualities on the pitch is that I’m seen as a bit of a leader. I’m quite loud and I try to motivate the team; the players know they can talk to me.
“I’ve also got a good relationship with Kingy, which is vital between a captain and manager.”
French has also shown good leadership skills away from the game in recent weeks after he organised a club donation to Waveney Foodbank, based in Eye.
Inspired by the work of England and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, French called on his team-mates, the coaching staff and the club as a whole to show their support – and he was blown away by the response.
“It was brilliant. I really wasn’t expecting it to be so successful,” he said.
“I put it into our group chat initially, saying how I felt we should do what we could, and then people are bringing two bags packed with food or trays full of food.
“The pictures actually don’t do it justice, there was so much donated which is fantastic from everyone involved.
“I was a bit worried because there was no way it was all going to get into my car, but luckily the club’s committee managed to sort out the hire of a van to take it over and get it all delivered.”