AFC Portchester have ‘under-achieved’ says coach Noakes – but ‘we’ll be a force to be reckoned with’ next season
AFC Portchester first team coach Joe Noakes reckons the club will be a 'force to be reckoned with’ under new boss Dave Carter next season.
Noakes has been handed a role as part of a new-look management staff at the Royals.
The 2021/22 season will be the ninth that Noakes has been associated with the Royals after signing for them in 2013.
During his time with Portchester, the 26-year-old admitted the squads he's been involved with have 'under-achieved'.
But Noakes, who stopped playing last summer after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament for a second time, feels Carter’s side could be the team to watch out for in the Wessex League Premier Division next term.
‘As a team promotion, definitely (the aim next season),' he stated.
‘As a player and for the teams we’ve had over the years, I can speak on behalf of the lads that have been there, we’ve under-achieved for the squads that we’ve had.
‘Hopefully this season it all clicks on. Every season we’ve always just been missing something but we’ve not been able to put our fingers on it.
‘We’ve still got some brilliant players in the squad now. We’ve got players like Lee Wort who is Sholing’s all-time leading goalscorer, Barry Mason who’s come over, Dave (Carter) - I’d imagine - is going to bring a couple of Moneyfields lads over.
‘I think we’ll be a force to be reckoned with next season.'
Portchester have won four cups during Noakes’ time at the club – the Wessex League Cup in 2015 and 2018 and the Russell Cotes Cup in 2014 and 2017.
But the highest Wessex finish they’ve ever managed is third in 2014/15 during Graham Rix’s time in charge, though they were also lying third when the 2019/20 campaign was halted due to the first national lockdown.
Noakes' first season as a coach has been a strange one because of the 'non-elite' football suspensions amid the pandemic.
It was former Royals manager Mick Catlin who invited him onto his staff last summer after he was forced called time on his playing career having suffered another serious knee injury.
The club have even offered to put Noakes through his coaching badges. And with chairman Paul Kelly a real 'driving force', he is fascinated to see how things pan out as the club chase their long-held ambition of Southern League football.
Noakes added: 'We’ve got the coaching staff and the physio as well, we’re one big team up there, so it’ll be good to see how we progress.
‘The chairman Paul Kelly is the real driving force of the backroom staff over there. He’s a class bloke to be fair.
‘He gives the club everything he has, he’s always up there working on the ground, he’s brilliant really.'