Sunbury United soccer club is looking to forget the past two years.
After narrowly avoiding relegation from state league 1 north-west in 2014, Sunbury wasn’t so lucky in 2015 and finished bottom of the ladder.
New coach Rob Pianalto, who was assistant coach last season, said his focus would be on getting United back to the top division as soon as possible.
He replaced Greg Czapnik, who left late last season, and before joining United had spent 13 years at Moreland City.
“There’s a burning desire to get back up to division 1,” Pianalto said. “It left a sour taste in our mouths and we know we’re better than that.
“We’re doing everything we can to do it and we should be aspiring to the National Premier League.”
Two weeks into the pre-season, Pianalto said things were getting started.
“The attitude and ability are both good at the moment, but there’s still a lot of water to pass under the bridge,” he said.
“Progress is slow and you have to take small steps.
“We want to look at the bigger picture and not look back and we’ll work hard to recruit a few new players for certain positions.”
Pianalto said United wanted to make the biggest improvements in attack.
“We need to get it forward and create more scoring chances, while making sure our defence is solid,” he said. “We very much want to bring in some attacking players.
“We know who we want; it’s about trying to get them to the club.”
Pianalto said the club was hoping to attract several players despite the perception that Sunbury was too far away.
“The club has good facilities and we’re looking at developing good coaches so they can pass on the knowledge to the kids,” he said.
“We’re very big on promoting juniors and giving them opportunities.”
Despite dropping down a division, United has managed to keep most of its players. The biggest loss will be best and fairest winner Nathan Fox, who has moved up to the NPL.
“You can never be disappointed with them trying to better themselves and reach their potential,” Pianalto said. “We’ve also had a couple of retirements.”