By KEVIN CRAIGENS
MARC HOWSON reckons Craig Gupwell never took any prisoners as a player.
Now he thinks he’s helping set Newmains United free as a boss.
The pair were previously teammates at Forth Wanderers but now Gupwell is Howson’s co-manager alongside Paul Davies at Victoria Park.
Defender Howson joined United under previous gaffer Kevin Muirhead but was keen to hang about when he heard Gupwell would be stepping into the dugout.
He said: “I came here under Kevin and when he left I knew Guppy was coming in.
“I played with Guppy up at Forth so I wanted to stick around to see what would happen with him. He has been brilliant.
“Sometimes people change when they go into management but Guppy is just Guppy. He doesn’t take any prisoners, that’s for sure.
“The fact I knew him before has made it easier. I know how he likes to play and I try my best for him.
“It makes you try a bit harder if you know the manager.”
United failed to win a single point last season but there has been a huge turnaround since Gupwell and Davies teamed up in February.
But they have won four times in the league, include a three-game winning streak for the first time in over three years.
They also beat Championship side Whitletts Victoria on their own patch in the West of Scotland Cup.
Howson, 27, said: “I think when Guppy and Paul came in last season it was always just a building job looking towards this season.
“If you look at last season’s league table and our results it was a shocking time. It was all about putting down foundations for this year.
“Now you can see the changes around the place. We have things like the Media Academy at the club and the players are all turning up to training every week.
“I think our performances on the pitch have reflected that.”
United’s momentum has been halted by the weather recently.
After a scheduled week off they’ve seen clashes at Thorniewood and Muirkirk called off because of waterlogged pitches.
Howson hopes they can get their season up and running again this Saturday at Vale of Clyde (kick-off 1.45pm).
He said: “I’m buzzing for the game. I hate a Saturday without a game. I don’t know what to do with myself!
“It can sometimes be hard to get the numbers at training during the winter nights but the boys are sticking together.
“We’ve been getting good turnouts which is positive to see. Since the result against Whitletts we had a few bad results but it’s not dampened spirits.
“We are all working in the same direction and are just going from strength to strength now.”