MANAGER Des Lyttle has questioned the attitude of semi-professional players at Hucknall Town’s level after his captain quit the club and two other players were disciplined and dropped.
Lyttle was rocked by the decision of experienced skipper and centre-back Wayne Diuk to leave and rejoin former manager Tommy Brookbanks at Evo-Stik Northern Premier League divisional rivals Stamford.
And then he left out midfielders Curtis Shaw and Jermaine Hollis from the squad to face Loughborough Dynamo after what he described as “one or two issues”.
“I don’t want to run a military camp here but we are trying to do things as professionally as possible,” said former Nottingham Forest defender Lyttle.
“We are trying to move the club in the right direction. But there have been one or two issues with lads turning up late for training.
“My view is that if you are slack off the park, you are going to be slack on it too.”
Both Shaw and Hollis travelled to Loughborough but weren’t even handed a place on the substitutes’ bench. And with Diuk also missing and goalkeeper James Lindley and midfielder Anthony Gregory out injured, Lyttle named a much-changed line-up for the game, which ended in a 3-0 defeat.
Diuk (31), formerly of Notts County and Kettering Town, joined The Yellows in the summer of 2010. He made 27 appearances, plus six as substitute, last term and has played in most games this season. However he notified Lyttle of his desire to leave after the 5-1 thrashing at Sutton Coldfield Town.
“I got a text message from him saying he wasn’t enjoying it,” said Lyttle. “Stamford also put seven days in for him.
“I won’t stand in the way of a player who doesn’t want to be at the club. But it’s always disappointing that you can’t hold on to them.
“At this level of football, players have the freedom to go where they want.
“What I am most concerned about is that players are not as mentally tough as those I am used to dealing with.
“They are not strong at dealing with adversity, being left out of the team, being out of form and working on their game.
“Instead of showing they are men, they just go and jump ship.
“It’s too easy for players to run up and down this league and join other clubs — when we need to build some stability.
“It is disappointing but it is something I will have to get used to.”
To plug the gap left by Diuk, Lyttle moved swiftly to sign giant defender Aaron Mitchell (21), a former professional at Nottingham Forest.
Mitchell, whose nickname of ‘Crouchy’ reflects his height of 6’5”, had a spell with Lyttle at Tamworth in the Blue Square Bet Premier last term and has been snapped up from Eastwood Town. His 19-year-old brother, Liam Mitchell, is a goalkeeper at Notts County.
The place of Shaw in the middle of midfield was taken at Loughborough by another new face, 20-year-old Kallum Keane, who has just been released by Exeter City in npower League One.
Formerly at Derby County, the Irishman has signed until January when he is hoping to be picked up by another Football League club.
Despite a second successive heavy defeat, Lyttle was not too dissatisfied with Town’s performance at Loughborough.
“I asked for a response after the Sutton Coldfield game and I got that,” he insisted.
“In terms of possession and creating chances, we were much better than we have been in recent weeks.
“But we conceded sloppy goals, which has been our downfall since I came to the club.
“Loughborough didn’t score their goals by opening us up but because of our lack of understanding of where to mark. Basic stuff that we have been talking about since day one.
“I thought we had addressed that but we must go back and work on it in training. We must show more steel and know-how in our defending.”