21st Nov, 2018

INTERVIEW: Sphinx boss Knibbs ‘relishes’ taking on non-league giants

FOOTBALL: SPHINX boss Lee Knibbs is ‘relishing’ the chance to compete for the Midland Football Premier League top spots against some of non-league’s giant clubs.

Knibbs, who took over Sphinx at the start of October, made his return to the club when signing on the dotted line after previously serving as assistant to Danny McSheffery in 2012.

A strong run of form has put Sphinx right in the promotion hunt, and a good Christmas period could see his men establish themselves as genuine title contenders.

Speaking to the Observer, Knibbs said the start to his managerial career at Sphinx has been nothing short of ‘really good’ – but he was keen to highlight the challenges that wait.

He said: “We’ve had positive results and all the players have bought into the things we’ve looked to change.

“The back room staff have all helped and the players’ work ethic has been first class.

“They’ve given me everything and have enjoyed a bit of downtime lately with games being called off. But we are still training to keep the legs ticking over.”

Knibbs has set his side the target of being within five points of the league leaders once his side’s are level on games played with other teams in the league.

And it’s a realistic ambition as Sphinx currently sit on 33 points from 17 games, meaning they’re 12 points of the leaders with three games in hand.

He said: “For me it’s a case of looking after what I can.

“I have goals that I want this team to achieve and the turnaround has granted the players some belief.

“Once the game level out we’ll work out where we are and what we can do to push forward.

“We have Lye Town, Coleshill and Coventry United coming up – the key for us is to be within five points of the league leader once our games in hand are over.

“I have a good squad available. A small squad compared to others but it’s good.

“The youth team backs me up and I have 20 players I can rely on.

“Players will be returning from injuries and holidays over the Christmas period so we should be in a good place.”

Despite the good feeling at the club, Knibbs – who’s helped by assistant manager Shaun Thomas – said he’s ‘managing expectations’ and will control what he can.

“There are some big clubs with big resources in this league,” said Knibbs.

“For me, I’ll control the 11 vs 11 on the pitch.

“We’ll need to learn to deal with times when results do not go our way also. The players have been excellent so far and our win at AFC Wulfrunians was a huge stepping stone for us.

“It’s great to be playing against some ‘big’ non-league clubs. Sphinx are established at this level.

“We want to make the club as strong as possible to push up to the next level, whenever that may come.”

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