Robbie Nightingale targets survival for Cambridge City
New boss has Evo-Stik goal
Robbie Nightingale made a dream return to Cambridge City last weekend – and has now set his sights on transforming their fortunes.
It has been a difficult campaign for the Lilywhites in Evo-Stik League Southern, Premier Division and a 15th league game without a win led to the departure of boss Dan Gleeson.
That signalled the appointment of Nightingale, who had been in charge of Soham Town Rangers in the Ryman League, and he wasted no time in strengthening the squad.
Nathan Mavila, Jordan Gent, Ryan Sharman, Ross Paterson and Salim Relizani all arrived ahead of the match with Merthyr Town, and it had an immediate impact as Charlie Woolfe scored in a 1-0 win.
“I’m forever in debt to Stuart (Hamilton, the Soham chairman) for giving me that opportunity with Dave Theobald,” said Nightingale.
“Nothing else would have drawn me away and that’s the truth. I was at City for 10 years as a player, over two stints, and played 350 league games so it’s something that means a lot to me.
“Prior to that I had spent a lot of time on the touchline cheering the team on. It’s a club that I feel passionate about and one that gave me a chance in my football career.
“When I was there, certainly in the first stint under Chris Tovey and Dave Batch, we were always fighting relegation and it was edge of the seat stuff.
“Having been through all of that and been away for a few years at Histon, I then came back to a side that was challenging at the top of the Southern Premier.
“When I left it was just starting (to grow) and now they have girls’ teams from a young age to under-16s, a ladies’ team and boys’ teams up through all the ages to the reserves – the whole club has grown so much, the future is certainly bright.
“Hopefully we can reward all the hard work they put in behind the scenes that sometimes goes a little bit unnoticed and strive to make the club great again.
“We just need to make sure that we show the passion, commitment and fight we showed on Saturday then more people will come to watch.”
The win at the weekend was the perfect boost for City and Nightingale, who sees a similar situation to when he took over at Soham and they were seven points adrift in the relegation places.
“Having done it at Soham last year, we are not too dissimilar in the scenarios that we’re given,” said Nightingale.
“It’s a massive weight off their shoulders getting that win.
“What we tried to say is the season started on Saturday for us.
“We have a golfing handicap but we will try to get out of it.”
He added: “The five we brought in we needed those and we will continue to look at potential players. Hopefully we can add one or two more to it before the Cinderford game on Saturday.”
Nightingale has also brought in his former Soham joint-manager Dave Theobald, who will be the first-team coach with Neil Midgley continuing as assistant manager.
City are 23rd in the table, seven points away from safety and travel to bottom side Cinderford on Saturday.