Dragons hope new deputy adds verve

TONY SMITH
Last updated 05:00 27/09/2012

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Canterbury United coach Keith Braithwaite believes his new Bulgarian assistant will bring "a different dimension" to the Dragons' national league campaign.

Tsetso Ivanov, who coached FC Twenty 11 in the Mainland premier league this winter, will replace Braithwaite's long-term offsider Andy Pitman, who has stepped down due to work commitments.

He and Braithwaite teamed up for the first time at training last night with Canterbury United beginning its preparation for the 2012-13 season set to kick off in November.

Braithwaite said Canterbury would definitely be without last year's leading goalscorer, George Slefendorfas, who moved to Auckland to play winter club football, and left back Dan Glozier who returned to England and would not be back.

Glozier, a former professional at Leyton Orient, and his partner "have got good jobs over there" and were reluctant to leave them, Braithwaite said.

Midfielder Darren White, who set up many of Canterbury's goals last season, is on his way back from Britain and Braithwaite hopes to retain All White Aaron Clapham if he does not move into professional football.

Braithwaite and Ivanov have a wide network of overseas contacts and may look to bolster their squad with more overseas signings but he is also keen to give Canterbury-based players an opportunity to step up to national league level.

Canterbury has qualified for the playoffs for the past three seasons and Braithwaite is hoping to break down Auckland City and Waitakere's dominance when the 2012-13 season kicks off in November.

Ivanov's technical and analytical skills would be an asset, he said.

“Tsetso will bring a different dimension to training nights. Andy played a key role in player development and we have appointed Tsetso to take over this key responsibility."

Ivanov said he was looking forward to the challenge of coaching at national league level. “My first task is to earn the respect of Keith and the players," he said.

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- Canterbury

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