New boss Luke, 23, wants to put his stamp on Wanderers

Burton Park Wanderers were beaten 4-0 at Long Buckby last Saturday but the UCL Division One bottom markers will be under new management this weekend following the appointment of 23-year-old Luke Smith
Burton Park Wanderers were beaten 4-0 at Long Buckby last Saturday but the UCL Division One bottom markers will be under new management this weekend following the appointment of 23-year-old Luke Smith

At just 23, Luke Smith is the new manager of Burton Park Wanderers and he’s bringing the Rothwell Corinthians blueprint to Latimer Park.

Smith was appointed this week and takes charge of the team for the first time at Buckingham Town tomorrow (Saturday).

Wanderers are currently bottom of UCL Division One having lost their opening eight games of the season.

Last season, Smith was first-team coach as Corinthians clinched promotion to the UCL Premier Division and during the summer, he was made assistant-manager to Shaun Sparrow at Sergeants Lawn.

He left the post this week to take on the job at Wanderers and said: “There are definite similarities between here and Rothwell.

“At both clubs there’s no budget, but Rothwell have shown what you can achieve when you get a good bunch of hard-working lads together.

“There are plenty of local lads in the Burton Park side and maybe we can replicate the success Rothwell had.

“l learned how to run a successful team from working with Shaun and now I’m looking to put my own stamp on Burton Park.

“There’s huge potential here and that’s why I applied for the job.”

Smith, who had a brief spell with Kettering Town before a knee injury ended his playing career, saw Burton Park play Tring Athletic in the FA Vase last month.

He said: “There’s definitely some potential there and I think I just need to add a bit of experience and re-energise the squad.

“I met the players this week and said I will give them all a chance. If they perform at Buckingham on Saturday, they will keep their shirt and I won’t have to bring anyone in.”

John Cairns and Harbans Basra have put a smile back on the face of Stewarts & Lloyds.

Cairns and Basra took over at Occupation Road during the summer and have transformed the Foundrymen from whipping boys into winners.

Last season, S&L took just a single point from 38 games, but they head to Thrapston tomorrow on top of Division One.

“It was a bit flat when we got here,” admitted Cairns.

“But there’s a buzz around the place now.

“We’ve rebuilt the team with local players who are know each other and have played with each other before.

“We’re getting good numbers in the bar after home games. The camaraderie is there.”

The Foundrymen have reached the summit without some key players.

Michael Byrne, prolific for both Desborough Town and Sileby Rangers last season, faces another couple of weeks on the sidelines with an ankle ligament problem.

But the form of Chris Caswell and David Sheridan means Byrne hasn’t been badly missed.

Both followed Cairns and Basra to Occupation Road from Corby Eagles this summer – and between them, they have 11 goals this season.

Caswell has netted in all six games he’s played for S&L, the latest coming in last week’s 3-1 win over Irchester United that ended the Romans’ six-game unbeaten run.

S&L had taken just two points from their previous three games and Cairns added: “We’ve been a bit complacent.

“When you’re winning games, you can start thinking you only have to turn up to win.

“But that’s not going to happen in this division and we know that now.

“We’ve been going behind early in games (they were 2-0 down inside 12 minutes at Bourne recently) and while we’ve shown good character to come back, it puts the team under pressure when you concede early goals.

“We know every team in this league is strong and physical and Thrapston will be the same.”

Elsewhere in Division One this weekend, Whitworth, having picked up back-to-back 4-1 wins over Woodford United, face a tough test as they head to Peterborough Sports, who hold a perfect record after six matches.

Rushden & Higham United and Irchester United, meanwhile, both have home advantage tomorrow.

The Lankies entertain third-placed Oakham United at Hayden Road while the Romans welcome Lutterworth Athletic to Alfred Street.