Hankinson eager to get the ball rolling at MBU

Thursday, January 11, 2018

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TUCKER, St James — Less than 20 hours after his arrival in the island for his second stint with two-time Red Stripe Premier League champions Montego Bay United (MBU), American coach Tim Hankinson led his first of two planned sessions at Wespow Park on Tuesday morning.

While it was important to get started as soon as he could, Hankinson told the Jamaica Observer minutes after he arrived in the island on Monday afternoon that he couldn't look too far ahead and was taking things one step at a time.

“I just want to get through practice tomorrow (Tuesday),” he told the Jamaica Observer. “We have two sessions planned, and it's a great opportunity having a full week before the Sunday fixture to put some things in place that I did before to make sure we are reinforcing the defensive and attacking concepts and game situation concepts. It will give me a few days to work with that, and hopefully we will see a good performance on Sunday,” said the American.

With two games to go in the second round, MBU are in eighth place on 22 points, three points from a top-six play-off spot. The St James club drew their last two games, both away from home, after losing in added time to Cavalier SC at home.

On Sunday, MBU will be home to sixth-placed Waterhouse at Wespow Park after beating them 1-0 in their first-round meeting at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

The game was the first in charge for Waterhouse coach Donovan Duckie who took over from Glendon Bailey, and since then the Kingston based club has outperformed MBU, earning 18 points in their 11 games played since.

Despite the seeming struggles of MBU, it wasn't hard for the club's management to lure Hankinson back to Wespow Park as the coach is out of a contract and available.

“I just finished my second season with Indy XI in the North American Soccer League (NASL) and found myself out of a contract, but I have been keeping up with Montego Bay United and saw they were in a situation where maybe they needed some guidance, and my job here is just simply to give them a helping hand and point them in the right direction,” noted Hankinson.

In his first stint here at the start of the 2015-16 season, Hankinson, who replaced Dr Dean Weatherly, had guided the team to seven wins in the first round of the RSPL and set the foundation for their second title in three years.

One of the biggest positives, he said on returning to MBU, was his familiarity with some of the senior players.

“Sometimes players just need a new voice, and obviously I have to get more familiar with the present roster... it's different from when I was last here; some of the players are the same but there have been changes,” he said.

MBU's statistics do not make for good reading with 16 goals scored, tied with FC Reno, Waterhouse and Humble Lion and better than just three other clubs.

They have been conceding goals at an alarming rate, giving up 25 with just relegation zone teams Sandals South Coast and Boys' Town giving up more.

“They are going to need more goal-scoring and strong goalkeeping and they are going to have to work very hard as a group collectively at both ends of the field to make up the points,” Hankinson noted.

Last week, president of MBU Orville Powell told the Observer that the club still harboured title hopes.

“We are going to fight it to the end and we are confident,” he had said.