Charlie Brown plots top four Ripon City finish

hsb  Ripon City v Boroughbridge.  Number 3 (Ripon).  (121201M5c)
hsb Ripon City v Boroughbridge. Number 3 (Ripon). (121201M5c)
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Returning boss Charlie Brown is eyeing a top-four finish for his Ripon City squad ahead of the season start on Saturday.

City kick-off their West Yorkshire Premier season at East End Park (2.30pm).

And after an excellent campaign last season saw them finish fifth, Brown has backed his side to become one of the league’s most feared sides.

He said: “We have improve. To finish lower than we did would be disappointing.”

“Before we were looking at teams like Bardsey, Leeds City and Beeston and thinking we might get a point.

“Now if we get a point we are disappointed. We can beat any side in the league.”

Paul Vincent led City to fifth-place and League Cup glory last season before stepping down to concentrate on playing this term.

And Brown insisted Vincent would play a major role in the centre of his team, especially as last year’s captain Adam Robinson is unavailable throughout the season.

“Paul’s as fit as anyone in the club,” Brown said.

“He’s worth a starting place. He looks as sharp as anyone.

“I have no qualms with playing Vinno.

“Perhaps it has been a blessing in disguise, we have been lacking older heads.”

Strikers Aidy Wintersgill and Kev Askew have joined City but it’s been a frustrating couple of months recruiting players for the gaffer.

Tom Bland was brought in to replace outgoing goalkeeper Mark Rimmer but Brown added: “We are very similar to last year.

“I was looking to get a couple of lads in but we haven’t really done it. Kev’s what we have been looking to add.

“He’s a big lad who holds the ball up very well. He would run through a brick wall to score a goal and we need someone with that passion up front.”

East End Park finished mid-table last campaign but they grabbed six points from City.

Brown wants his side to rectify that in a contest he expects to be fiery.

“It is not a nice place to go at the best of times. It’s an intimidating place,” he said.

“We have to be on our game and get something.”

City welcome Wetherby Athletic to Mallorie Park on Wednesday before games against champions Bardsey, rivals Boroughbridge and perennial high-fliers Leeds City.

“In the first five games we have two sides that are favourites to finish in the top three. We have to get our fair share of points,” Brown added.