Play-off places are absolute minimum for Grimsby Town, says Andi Thanoj
ANDI Thanoj has put in the hard yards over the summer months as he bids to help Grimsby Town to a top-five finish.
Far from taking a break from football, the young midfielder has been working tirelessly in the off-season to ensure he impresses managerial duo Paul Hurst and Rob Scott.
Improving his game both offensively and defensively has been a focus for the 19-year-old who came through the Town youth system.
And after making 19 starts last season, he has his sights on a regular starting spot in the Mariners' midfield – and a Blue Square Bet Premier Promotion push.
He said: "Last season I had a taste of regular football and I loved it.
"So hopefully this year I can push on from there.
"My aim for the season is to nail down a regular place in the side.
"I've worked on my fitness and getting forward more – that was one of my weakness last year, I didn't get forward enough.
"And I've worked on my tackling as well, so hopefully that will pay off.
"The gaffers told me before pre-season that they wanted to see me tackle more and they're helping me along with that.
"We've got a good, tight squad here, there is great morale within the team, and we believe we can do well.
"We haven't set out specific targets, but the play-offs must be the absolute minimum for us.
"The new players coming in will take a little while to settle in but you can see they've got real quality and should add to the squad."
Thanoj enjoyed his first 45 minutes of pre-season action on Wednesday evening, playing the entire second half of Town's 12-3 win over Grimsby Borough.
Now he is looking forward to the Mariners' second friendly outing, at Blue Square Bet North side Gainsborough Trinity tomorrow.
The Albanian-born midfielder is prepared for a tough test at Northolme as Town go up against a side four levels higher than Borough.
"Obviously being out of football for a few months you want to get back into it,' he added.
"So the match at Borough was just the thing for us to get back on the ball, get our confidence up and work on our fitness.
"Ever since the return to training we've been looking forward to the first game and stepping up our preparations for the season.
"More than anything else, the Borough game was about fitness.
"That's the priority at the moment.
"But obviously once you get into the game you want to improve on the technical side of your game as well.
"No disrespect to Borough but Gainsborough will be harder opposition, so we'll aim to keep improving."