HUCKNALL Town boss Darren Kelk says he is keen to see his new charges in action following an enforced mini-break due to the freezing weather.
The new manager has yet to oversee a match since taking over from Jason Truscott last week, although the time afforded to Kelk by the postponement of the home match with Sheffield FC on Saturday has allowed him to continue putting a squad together.
And with rumours abound that Saturday’s scheduled hosts, Stamford, are keen to recruit volunteers to clear their pitch of snow and ice, Kelk says he is looking forward to seeing what quality he has at his disposal.
He said: “It’s been hard to assess things properly because we’ve struggled to get any 3G pitches to train on so have really only been able to work on fitness, although that’s obviously an important factor.
“But I haven’t been able to see the players in any kind of match situation yet, which could mean we go into any potential match at Stamford a little disorganised.
“We may be able to get some kind of friendly organised for during next week which will help, particularly if Saturday is called off, but until then we’ll just have to get the players as ready as possible.”
Kelk says he has had huge support from Mansfield Town in his attempts to build a team, with the Stags’ management team of Paul Cox and his assistant Richard Cooper proving very willing to let a number of their youth team get good experience at Watnall Road.
And with players also being made available by clubs at lower levels, Kelk has been heartened by the help he has received.
He said: “I worked with Coops at Eastwood and know Coxy well too, and they really see the value in giving their youngsters the chance to play in competitive football against players with more experience than they’re used to.
“I’ve worked with Mansfield’s youth team in the past and it got quite routine in that they were often playing the same sides and against similar age groups, which didn’t always help their development, so the fact they can come here and play in a competitive league can only help them.
“But I want lads here who are keen to play at this level. It’s a great opportunity for them to give it a go and almost put themselves in the shop window really, maybe more so than usual.
“Obviously none of this is going to result in any overnight success for us, and I’ll need to get some experience into the team as well, but it’s a great challenge for these lads to come in and try and keep the club up.
“They could become legends, not only in Hucknall but also in the local area, if they can come to a club playing with amateur status and help us stay in the division.
“I’ve told them to express themselves in the first few games. I think the longer a game goes on with them not being breached too much the more confident they can get.”
Kelk says he as reached an agreement with winger Anthony Rowley to join from Shirebrook until the end of the season, and anticipates further signings before the weekend.
He added: “There are players around who aren’t getting much action with their own clubs and who have been allowed to work with us for a bit, which is again a big help.”
Regarding the possible clash at Stamford, Kelk said: “They’ll be keen to get the game on because given our circumstances they’ll fancy getting some points, but we’ll be as ready as we can be for the challenge.”