PAUL Kinning says an off-season shift to Hotspurs has rejuvenated his soccer.
He says the club’s culture, along with a blend of youth and experience, will see them push most in the competition — including Myrtleford tomorrow.
The veteran midfielder, along with former Heart teammate Tyson Mason, made the move to Aloyisius Park this year and has made an immediate impact.
Kinning scored midway through the first half and then again in the 86th minute in the 2-0 win against St Patrick’s last week.
He also scored late in Spurs 6-2 thrashing of Wangaratta a week earlier.
“I don’t get on the score-sheet that often,” Kinning said.
“But we have slotted into the team very quickly and I’m enjoying playing alongside some quality players.
“I think that makes you lift as well.”
Kinning, 34, emigrated from England a decade ago and spent five years at Melrose before moving to Heart.
He said it was a challenging period but one he didn’t regret.
“It was tough — we didn’t have the depth and while they were trying, the culture just wasn’t there,” he said.
“At Spurs, you sense it’s a football club.
“You have class players like Ryan Giles and Luke Drummond in goal and the juniors coming through the system benefit from the collective experience of those former players who have stayed loyal to Spurs.”
The school teacher expected that blend of youth and experience would test most teams this winter.
“I still see us as the underdog but we are very solid as a unit and, as a team, we’ll challenge most in the competition,” he said.
“We might still struggle against the top sides but if, we can keep everyone fit, I think we will be very hard to beat in the middle of the ladder.
“I’ve got high hopes for this year — it is a good set-up.
“We’ll give Myrtleford a run for their money but they are always pretty classy.”
Kinning expected Mason to make his mark on the competition this year.
Last year, the Heart captain shored up the centre of defence but, at Spurs, he has been thrown forward as a goal scoring option.
“Tyson adds that bit of flair up front for us and when he gets firing we’ll be looking good,” he said.