Goals galore but boss wants more

Hucknall Town v South Normanton Athletic.
Hucknall's Michael Banister is beaten to the ball by Josh Thompson.
Hucknall Town v South Normanton Athletic. Hucknall's Michael Banister is beaten to the ball by Josh Thompson.

Hucknall Town boss Andy Graves has called for more ruthlessness in front of goal from his players - despite them having scored 13 in their first two games.

A 7-0 opening day win over Holbrook St Michaels was followed up by a 6-0 thrashing of South Normanton last weekend, the Yellows sitting fourth in the early Central Midlands League South standings having played fewer games than those above them.

But whilst acknowledging the fine start, Graves is keen not to see standards slip in key areas.

He said: “I’m really pleased with the start and with the fact that we’re doing what I’ve asked and converting more of the chances we’re creating.

“But it still concerns me that we’re not ruthless enough. On Saturday we had seven or eight clear cut openings in a half-hour spell and missed them all. On another day we might only get two or three and you’ve got to take them.

“Maybe it was because we got too comfortable and perhaps a bit sloppy, but if you want to win this league you can’t let that happen.

“It was difficult to gauge how strong South Normaton are as they’re new to the league but they bounced back well by putting five past Keyworth on Tuesday night so that says quite a lot.

“Performance-wise, we’re very similar to how we were last season so I’ve not been surprised by the quality so far, particularly given most of the squad is the same.”

With champions Selston having won all three of their games so far and Pinxton currently top having won three of their four, Graves is acutely aware of the kind of challenge Hucknall will have to face if they’re to achieve their aim of promotion this time around, having just missed out last season.

He said: “I’m not sure if Selston will have the facilities in place to go up this time around but if they do then we know we’re going to have to finish above the likes of them, Eastwood, Pinxton, Sherwood and all of those who would be suitable for promotion.

“So we can’t get complacent. This is a very hard league to get out of, as we’ve found before, but to have started as well as we have done is obviously very pleasing.”

Next up for Hucknall is a local derby at Linby Colliery Welfare on Monday.

Welfare have lost three of their games so far under new boss Lewis Saxby but Graves doesn’t expect an easy ride at Church Lane for the Bank Holiday clash.

He said: “It won’t be easy at all given their pitch is a lot smaller than ours and we’re not as used to that.

“They have had a patchy start but from what I can gather they haven’t played badly at all. I’ll go to their game against Sherwood on Saturday and take a look at them.

“Hopefully there will be a good crowd there as it’s the only real local derby we have now Hucknall Rolls are no more. Indeed, I’d like to see more fans at both our home and away games as it really helps the players.”