ST MIRREN defender David van Zanten insists he won’t be letting his guard down next season as he fights to keep his place at right-back ... even if the departure of Dutchman Jeroen Tesselaar means there will be less competition for places.
Vanzy was gearing up for a battle with David Barron for the right-back slot but may find his life a little easier if his team-mate is switched over to the left-hand side of defence to fill the gap caused by Tesselaar’s decision to quit and sign for SPL rivals Kilmarnock instead.
However, the 30-year-old Irishman insists he will never take his first-team place for granted – because there are other members of the Saints squad who could do a job for gaffer Danny Lennon.
Vanzy told Express Sports: “There will definitely be no let-up as far as I’m concerned. My targets and objectives will not change.
“At the start of every season, my aim is to get into the team for the first game of the season – and then make sure I stay there.
“Last season, I played around 40 games and, next season, I want to play just as many – maybe even more.
“I don’t think the pressure is off me in terms of holding down my position. I’ll keep putting pressure on myself to be better. I won’t take my foot off the gas.”
Tesselaar made a big impression on St Mirren supporters last season after arriving in Paisley from his native Holland.
However, the left-back snubbed Lennon’s offer of an extended deal and will now come up against the Buddies in the blue and white of Killie next season.
That has left Saints fans calling for a replacement left-back to be signed – but, as a result of the current financial crisis which is swamping Scottish football, Lennon has been handed a temporary transfer ban by club bosses.
It means he may have to go with either Barron or former Celtic starlet Graham Carey on that side of defence.
And van Zanten is confident that either player will be able to plug the gap more than adequately.
In the meantime, he is concentrating on getting as fit as possible ahead of the big kick-off ... with the help of double sessions as the Saints squad crank up their pre-season preparations.
Vanzy added: “It’s the usual pre-season for us – which means a lot of hard work – but it’ll all be worth it as it stands you in good stead for the start of the season and beyond.
“We’ve been doing double sessions and it does take its toll on your legs but we know that, once we get the hard work out the way, it’ll be very beneficial to us.”