THERE are many qualities needed to propel a team to the top of the table – but none more important than a winning mentality.
So says Solihull Moors player-coach Gavin Cowan who, having joined in the summer from Nuneaton Town, has helped the club to an unbeaten start and pole position in the Vanarama National North.
Though Moors manager Marcus Bignot drafted in a dozen new recruits, Cowan believes the new-look squad has already gelled to become early pacesetters in what he describes as ‘arguably the toughest in non-League’ to win promotion.
“Our recruitment over the summer was very much based on quality, but also having the right mentality – that’s what we feel we’ve got,” said the defender. “We’ve got a group together that is not just full of good players technically but players with a winning mentality.
“With that mix you believe you can do well.
“There are times in games when you know when you have to work hard, really hard to stay in games. Games like North Ferriby away when we got a draw, hard-fought games where you need that mentality.
“When you look at the group in the dressing room, there’s an unconditional desire to do well for each other. Everyone wants to go out and achieve for each other, as well as for themselves. It’s really positive.”
Cowan endured relegation with Nuneaton Town last season so the former Shrewsbury, AFC Telford and Kidderminster centre-back is relishing being involved with a winning team. Not that any Moors player is taking anything for granted.
Moors have opened a six-point lead at the top of the table thanks to Saturday’s narrow 1-0 win over Harrogate with Andy Brown scoring the only goal of the game on 46 minutes.
And this Saturday Moors are preparing for a to Bradford Park Avenue.
“We’ve put some down some good foundations but ultimately all the hard work is to come,” said Cowan, who made his debut in the win at Corby on Bank Holiday Monday.
“As the gaffer says, we’re one month into the season and there’s another eight to go. When you look at it from that point of view, there’s a long way to go.
“We’re not looking at the table and getting carried away. This has given us a good platform, a good foundation for what we hope is going to be a successful season.
“We certainly won’t be getting complacent or carried away. It’s early days.”
It is also ‘early days’ for Cowan’s other role as part of the Moors management team, alongside manager of the month Bignot, Simon Redhead and Darren Byfield.
“I’m really privileged and honoured to be working under Marcus and being given a platform by the football club, not only carrying on playing but to learn a trade on the other side,” Cowan added.
“Whatever comes of that I don’t know but I’m going to enjoy the journey.”