Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Forget the Past; in Association with Ron Grieg Top Flight Spot Is Realistic Ambition - Boss

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Forget the Past; in Association with Ron Grieg Top Flight Spot Is Realistic Ambition - Boss

Article excerpt

Byline: By ANTHONY VICKERS

CONRAD HILLERBY believes his high-flying Norton side can make Ancients history.

Norton, long Teesside's minnows, joined the Northern League in 1982 but have never been in the top flight.

But after a flying start and some shrewd strengthening, boss Hillerby believes they may be finally in a position to change that.

"There's a long way to go," he warned as he prepared to face Brandon. "But promotion this year is a realistic ambition for this team.

"We have a very good squad here now, one I believe is as good as any in the division. We have a fantastic, well-balanced group that have a lot of pace, a lot of energy, a lot of options and a lot of goals.

"We have a nucleus of experienced lads who have done it in the higher division and who know what it takes to win in this league, plus an excellent group of young players who are learning quickly.

"We are making progress off the pitch too.

The committee have worked hard to get the finances right, we have a new stand and a new building going up too. We are ready for it now.

We are in a position to make history here."

Norton have started superbly. Their only league defeat came as they dominated at leaders Whitehaven but lost, although they bounced back to thrash the Cumbrians 4-1 two weeks later.

That was one of five of the last six home games in which they have scored four goals.

"They are flying in," said Conrad. "We have the likes of Micky Dunwell who will always score but the rest are chipping in too. But we are working hard right across the team and defending well too."

Norton are four points off the top with three games in hand and the season is shaping up nicely - but the boss is warning against complacency.

"We have put ourselves in a promotion place but we will have to work even harder now to stay there," he said.

"There are good teams like Stokesley, Marske and Horden just below us and we haven't played them yet. We're there to be shot at now.

We have given ourselves the best chance of promotion in our history - we have to make sure we take it."

Elsewhere the focus is on the FA Vase as the minnows' national knockout competition reaches the first round proper stage with three of Teesside's in-form Division Two sides in action. …

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