John Markovski is excited to be given the opportunity to shape Sydenham Park into a Football Federation Victoria men’s state league 1 title contender.

Markovski took over as coach mid-season with the Reds a bit off the pace, but helped solidify their position in the top five and has been rewarded with a contract extension through next season.

“It’s good to get it done,” Markovski said. “I enjoyed it this season. It’s just a shame we didn’t get a little higher up on the ladder, but hopefully next year we can work from the start.”

Sydenham Park will be shooting for the stars next year.

With a strong recruiting campaign and a full pre-season, Markovski is confident the Reds can be in the thick of the action at the pointy end of next season.

“Of course, that No. 1 spot is the goal – I don’t even have to say it,” he said. “The club’s been great, they know what I want and I know what they want.”

Time will be the most valued commodity for Sydenham Park.

Markovski was pleased with how the players responded to his fast-tracked instructions in the second half of last season, but there is no substitute for a full pre-season.

“It is difficult coming in mid-season,” he said. “The pre-season is most important because you get the team together and working from there. You get to play a few games and let the players know the way you want them to play, implement it on the park and get it into the brain to do it week in week out.”

Sydenham Park was only five spots back from champion side Altona Magic, but Markovski is not being fooled by ladder positions.

The 47-year-old former Socceroo knows the Reds are far from the finished article.

“We’re going to have to strengthen the squad a bit to hopefully move up,” Markovski said.

“Technically and tactically, we’re not too bad, but we sort of lacked finish.

“Strikers don’t grow on trees, but we need one, plus a couple of defenders and a midfielder or a winger. I want to get a good squad that wants to fight.”