Kick-off: Hackney Wick and Chris Davis ready for Essex Senior League challenge

Hackney Wick boss Chris Davis (left) looks on from the touchline at the Old Spotted Dog (pic: Tim Ed

Hackney Wick boss Chris Davis (left) looks on from the touchline at the Old Spotted Dog (pic: Tim Edwards). - Credit: Archant

Experienced manager looking for Old Spotted Dog club to improve on the 17th-place finish achieved by London Bari last season

Chris Davis expects the new Essex Senior League season to be one of the toughest yet, but is confident his new-look team will shock a few clubs.

During the summer, Hackney Wick, previously of the Middlesex County League, merged with London Bari and in the process took their spot for the 2017/18 campaign.

Davis was Bari’s manager, but is now the Hackney Wick boss and is determined to see the new club improve on their 17th-place finish last year, whilst under the name of London Bari.

He said: “We are prepared for this season to be the toughest ever, but we are trying to not look back.

“We want to look forward and our aim is to finish as high as possible and give absolutely everything.

“Obviously it will be a challenge and there are a lot of good teams in the league, but if we can stay as a unit then I think we can have a great season.”

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Davis admits the decision to merge Bari with Hackney Wick was not easy, but felt it was best for all parties.

Bari had been established in 1995 and worked their way up the leagues before joining the Essex Senior League in the summer of 2012.

After getting so far, Davis and the rest of the committee at the Old Spotted Dog club decided it made sense to merge with Hackney Wick.

“It was a hard decision. We had a project for a while and hoped to keep building it, but it was tough,” said Davis.

“There was not a lot more we could have done with London Bari and we just felt we couldn’t make it any bigger than it was.

“Hackney Wick came to us with a proposal and we thought about it and decided it could work.

“They are very enthusiastic and with our past experience it should help us all together build a club for this area.

“If you look at it, there are not a lot of teams in this part of east London and especially in Hackney.

“We want to create a club that belongs to the area and that was part of the reason we at London Bari decided to get on board.”

After coming 17th during the 2016/17 campaign, Davis and Wick are looking forward and aiming to progress on and off the pitch.

He added: “We definitely want to improve because that was a bad season for us. We didn’t prepare properly, so that cost us, but we are working hard to make sure all of the things that hindered us don’t happen again.

“Instead of progressing, we went backwards, so this time around we want to change that and move forward as a club.”

Whatever happens it is sure to be an exciting season for Hackney Wick and with several good people at the club, there is no reason why they can’t enjoy success.

This weekend they travel to Crofters End to take on Sawbridgeworth Town looking to cause another surprise.