25th Jun, 2022

Determined Dutton enjoying difficult Coventry Sphinx job

Steve Carpenter 20th Oct, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

MANAGER Stuart Dutton admits taking over the reigns at Coventry Sphinx has somewhat taken over his life in recent months, but he is enjoying every moment of management at the Midland Premier League Club.

The former Copsewood and Sphinx player was the man selected to replace Robbie Banks at Sphinx Drive in the summer after he moved on due to other work commitments.

And since then, Dutton has had his work cut out assembling a competitive squad on what is a small budget compared to their league rivals.

“It’s a difficult job because we’re competing against teams with big budgets in this league,” Dutton told the Observer.

“There were only a few players left at the club when Robbie (Banks) left the club so we had to start from scratch.

I’ve got a 17-year-old playing at left back, a 20-year-old goalkeeper and lots of other young players in this team.

“We’re a working progress. It can be tough but we just have to be shrewd and use our local knowledge by pulling favours and getting players to buy into what we want to do here.

“We’re by no means the money men in this league but we’re trying to build something at this club.”

Dutton co-managed Coventry Copsewood to the Birmingham Floodlit Challenge Cup last season and is no stranger to Sphinx Drive having previously coached the club’s youth side and he was also assistant manager to former boss Luke Hopkins.

But in his biggest coaching role yet, Dutton has had to quickly come to terms with the daily dilemmas.

“I know how the club works so I guess I was the right person for the job,” Dutton continued.

“Last year we finished fourth from bottom and I’ve said in the summer that we don’t want another season like that but we’ve been plagued by injuries this season.

“We made a great start but we lost four vital matches and we’ve been missing big players.

“We’ve started to get players back now which is pleasing but if you pick up a couple of injures again you’re left scratching your head looking to fill the gaps again.”

“There’s been highs and lows in the job and there’s a lot of work involved with training, picking the kit up, matchday – it’s a massive job.”

With Sphinx not action this weekend, Dutton will take a much-needed break away from the touchline after as his backroom staff look to shorten the injury list.

“I’m thinking about taking the missus out for the night because it’s been that manic since I took on the job,” Dutton joked.

“We’ve got six-seven lads on the treatment table so our physio has been working hard but it will give them an extra week to get fit and we’ll be in a much stronger position for our next match at home to Boldmere St Michaels on October 29.”

There has been plenty of transfer action at Sphinx Drive in recent months but one player who has caught the eye of manager Dutton is striker Ryan Harkin, who is Sphinx’s top goalscorer with six important goals this season.

“Ryan followed me from Copsewood and he’s stepped up to the place by scoring some vital goals so far,” Dutton added.

“He’s still learning with every game but whenever he gets his opportunity he seems to pop up with a goal.

“He could go on to be a big player for this club if he continues to work hard and learning from Jamie Towers will only help his game.”

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