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Kick-off: No excuses for Imrul Gazi and Sporting Bengal after learning a lot last season

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 August 2017

Sporting Bengal United manager Imrul Gazi issues instructions from the touchline (pic: Sporting Bengal United).

Sporting Bengal United manager Imrul Gazi issues instructions from the touchline (pic: Sporting Bengal United).

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Mile End Stadium club are looking to surprise people again and kick on after a strong end to the 2016/17 campaign

Sporting Bengal United boss Imrul Gazi admits there are no excuses for the Mile End Stadium club this time in the Essex Senior League.

The east Londoners finished 19th last season – fourth from bottom – after winning only 11 of their 42 games.

It was a learning curve for both Gazi and his squad in what was his first campaign as manager of Bengal, but he feels everyone is much better prepared this time around.

He said: “I have got another year’s experience of the league so I know what to expect from clubs and how they will play.

“Hopefully I can use that to our advantage and set us up to do well and get as many points as possible.

“We want to stay up, but I don’t want that to be our only target and I have some personal goals which I think we can achieve.”

It has been quite a while since a manager of an Essex Senior League club had to worry about relegation, but this year they do.

With a new step six league coming into fruition for the 2018/19 season, up to four clubs could suffer relegation during the new campaign and lose their step five status as a result next April.

Bengal are well aware many will tip them to be involved in the battle for survival, yet Gazi is quietly confident about what they can achieve.

He added: “We have a good mix of experience and youth and I will not be bringing anyone in that is a novice.

“Last season I did and gave people a chance, but my squad right now will stay settled and we will only add quality.

“Anyone else that comes in has to add to our depth and not just be with us for the sake of it, so I will only bring someone in if I feel they can improve us, but I am happy with what I have got.”

Bengal’s form in the second half of the 2016/17 season demonstrated what they are capable of achieving.

Notable victories against the likes of Waltham Forest, Enfield, Southend Manor and Barkingside showed the talent in their squad, but they need to do it more consistently.

Gazi said: “We class ourselves as a community club and every year the aim is to try and make sure we stay in the division, but we want to finish as high as possible.”

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