New Gisborne Soccer Club coach Danny Ciantar sees the job as a long-term situation and is intent on helping the club rise up FFV ranks.

Ciantar, who previously coached juniors at the club, returns after being involved with St Albans the past couple of years.

A Gisborne local, Ciantar says it’s an exciting time for a club that is growing on and off the field.

He replaces Eric Greer, who coached the side for the past two seasons.

“I’ve been coaching for the last 20 years and been involved with NPL clubs,” Ciantar said.

“I coached Gisborne’s under-14s a few years ago and was very successful with that side.

“Gisborne president Rodney Smith asked if I was interested in the senior coaching role at the club.”

Ciantar said one of the biggest challenges the club faced was bridging the gap between the junior and senior programs.

Having coached juniors at the club, he already knows several of the players coming through.

“The gap between the juniors and seniors is big,” he said. “We want the integration from the juniors into the senior team.

“There’s about 30 local kids playing in Melbourne as we don’t have the format to keep the boys. The club wants to be in a position to keep those kids.”

On the playing side, Ciantar said Gisborne would look to work with the players already in the club. He said there had been a bit of interest in joining the club since his appointment and youth would play a key part in the side.

Ciantar said the side would work hard on tightening up its defence. Gisborne finished sixth in FFV state league 5 west last season.

“We want to be pushing for promotion,” he said. “We conceded 34, 35 goals last season. If we can concede around the 20-goal mark, we think we might be able to get that promotion.”

Ciantar said that while promotion was the aim this season, long-term plans were not being forgotten. He said the club hoped to be in state league 3 within five years.

“We should be aiming as high as possible,” he said. “It’s exciting times for the club. We’ve got the facilities right and the membership is growing. We’ve got to get the football right now.”

Gisborne president Rodney Smith, said Ciantar was the ideal coach for the role.

“We have exceptional talent on our senior list and we have exceptional talent coming through the junior ranks,” he said.

“Danny has coached some of these juniors already and his relationship with them will make the integration from junior to senior soccer a smoother process.”