FORMER Uttoxeter Town manager Dean Arnold is unsurprised by the team's blistering start to life in Division One of the Staffordshire Senior League.
Arnold led Town to an unprecedented Burton and District Sunday League clean sweep in the 2010/11 season before championing the switch to Saturday football. And with the nucleus of his all-conquering side intact - plus the addition of key players including Jason Beardsley, Jack Holley, Tom Harvey and Dom Ward - unbeaten Town are just two points off the Division One summit with a game in hand on leaders Hilton Harriers.
Arnold said: "Obviously I didn't know what sort of standard the league was but if you use the likes of Stretton Eagles as a benchmark I knew they were not going to be a million miles away. With Lee Bagley and Tommy Smith up top they're going to score goals whatever league they're in. Having them two coming back is a big bonus with Bagley now fit and Smithy back at the club.
"From what I've seen the attitude both on the pitch and off the pitch is very professional. It's still early days and the club still needs to get out of this division. They need to keep the momentum going. The general feeling is that the club is looking to progress and keep building. It's not a case of winning this division and the being a mid-table Premier side next season. We are looking at becoming a semi-professional club in time."
Another key aspect of Town's switch to Saturday football is giving juniors a clear pathway through to the adult game and the football pyramid according to the former boss. Arnold added: "My main motivator when it all kicked off was the thought that where do juniors go when they reach 15, 16 or 17. Uttoxeter Juniors is a massive set up. Uttoxeter should work in the same way as most towns across Europe with a main senior team and juniors should strive - if they don't make it professionally - to get into that team."