Slowly but surely Bibi’s Harbour View take shape

After a fairly ordinary start to Red Stripe Premier League season, things have finally started to come together at Harbour View FC.

New head coach Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner finally seems to be getting the results he desires out of his troops which have seen the club climb from the bottom half of the 12-team table to fourth in the standings, with three sets of matches to be played in the first round.

The former Reggae Boy cautiously admitted that things were looking up for his team.

“It is getting better, but there is still a lot of work to be done; it’s a work in progress and we continue to work on the training ground and hopefully it will pay off in games like these,” he said after his team’s 1-0 win over the UWI on Sunday.

Gardner said that the players have improved their intensity in training as they continue to grasp his philosophy.

“The players are working a little bit harder in training and it’s showing out there on the pitch. The way you train is the way you are going to play on the weekends, so I think the work is paying off. The players are getting it gradually (philosophy), I don’t think they fully understand it yet, but as I said it’s a work in progress. They are grasping the information and I can see all that we are working on in training, transforming into the game, so that is a plus for us,” he noted.

A left back during his playing days, the Harbour View head coach has put together the stingiest defensive unit in the league so far. Harbour View have conceded only two goals in eight games, the closest team being Tivoli Gardens who have conceded twice as many in the same number of games.

“Definitely, if you continue to keep clean sheets there is an opportunity of you getting a goal every now and again, so I want to applaud the defensive work also,” said the former Bolton Wanderers captain.

But while a solid defence ensures that you don’t lose games, goals win matches, and Gardner is fully aware of the importance of striking it good at both ends. Growing confidence within the ranks, he admits, is also crucial to achieving all goals.

“The confidence is growing and I can see it each day on the training ground that they start to enjoy it a little bit more and they start to express themselves a little bit more and they start to grasp the information and executing it out there on the training field as well,” said the former Wolmer’s Boys’ Manning Cup star.

While they have been solid at the back, Harbour View have managed less than a goal a game up front, with just six goals from eight starts, and so the focus will shift to that area of the pitch in the short term.

“We will continue to work on it in training and we will continue to work on it a day at a time. Looking back on a couple of games earlier in the season, I think we are doing far better in terms of creating chances. We have started to put the ball in the back of the net and that is the only way you are going to win games. So we just have to continue to work as hard as we do on our defensive work,” the first-year head coach said.

The primary target for the first round is being met at the moment and it is something that the club can build on, Gardner suggested.

“It’s still early days, we said we would love to be up amongst them at the end of the first round and I don’t think it’s a bad start for us, but it is something that we can build on going forward.”

The 13 points that Harbour View have amassed so far in the league sees them tied on points with third-place Portmore United who have a game in hand, but five points off the league leaders and defending champions Arnett Gardens, who have totalled 18 points to date.

Source: The Jamaica Observer