Promotion the aim for Blyth Spartans’ Mullen

Blyth Spartans midfielder Damen Mullen. Picture by Bill Broadley
Blyth Spartans midfielder Damen Mullen. Picture by Bill Broadley

Damen Mullen believes promotion from the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division has to be the aim for Blyth Spartans this season.

The Croft Park club came close to sealing a play-off place last season, only to fall on the last day of the campaign as the impact of a hectic schedule finally caught up with them.

That schedule was a result of the run to the third round of the FA Cup.

Now he is hopeful of securing promotion into the newly named National League North, as well as retaining the Northumberland Senior Cup.

“I think we can expect to achieve more this season, obviously the highs of the FA cup might not come around again, but as far as the league and the other cup competitions, we should be hoping for further success as well as looking to retain the Northumberland Senior Cup.

“We’ve got a great group of lads and morale was extremely high, especially in the latter part of the season.

“Promotion has got to be the target this season, whether it be automatic or via the play-offs, but when the whole team has the same target and ambition, it gives belief among everybody that it can be achieved.”

If promotion is to be achieved then it will be done with the help of some new additions.

Manager Tom Wade has already signed West Allotment Celtic forward Sean Reid and brought midfielder Paul Robinson back to the club from Whitley Bay.

More new signings are expected during the pre-season campaign and Mullen is pleased with the two new additions so far.

“I’ve obviously played with Robbo at Blyth last season and he’s a quality player, he’s the sort of player that can create something out of nothing and has the ability to change a game, so it’ll be great to see him back, but he’ll also bring experience into the changing room, which will help the young squad we have.

“As for Sean, I’m yet to see him play, but from what I’ve read and heard I’m expecting big things, no pressure on the lad.

“He’ll be made very welcome and during pre-season he’ll have time to settle in, so by the time the season starts hopefully he can show us what he has to offer.

“Players that come to Blyth have to bring quality and offer something different to what we have already, and thus far they have, so it’ll be interesting to see who follows.”

On a personal level, Mullen is targeting a regular place in the Spartans line-up for the new season.

He has been tagged as a utility player and played in a number of positions for Tom Wade’s side last season.

The former Morpeth Town man is happy to play anywhere he is asked and admitted that he was pleased to see the management team trust him to play all over the pitch, although he does want to make a position his own.

He said: “I really don’t mind where I play, I like being able to play pretty much anywhere, and the fact Tom and Pickers [Lee Picton] trust me to play in different positions gives me confidence.

“I had a good run at left back in the final months of the season and I really enjoyed playing there because of the football we were playing, it gave the full backs more freedom to get forward and be a lot more involved.

“Being a ‘utility’ player can be seen sometimes seen as a negative as you may get overlooked sometimes as to someone who is an out and out striker or midfielder etc, but as long as I’m playing I’m happy, and then it’s up to me to make that position my own.”