Town fortunes and squad must improve

BELEAGUERED bosses Mick Galloway and Andy Miller are on a knife edge after being given an ultimatum to improve the squad and fortunes of Hucknall Town.

Despite pre-season calls for management stability at the club, the duo are feeling the heat after The Yellows were outclassed by Burscough last Saturday in the Blue Square North and then dumped out of the Setanta Shield, at the first hurdle, to the tune of 3-1 by Hinckley United on Tuesday.


alloway and Miller are still searching for their first competitive victory at the helm after a winless streak that has included seven league games and plunged them to the foot of the table.

Now they have been told by vice-chairmen Dave Gamble and John Coleman that they must improve their squad and improve results.

Town are the only side in the Blue Square North without a win this season and that has led some sections of the Watnall Road faithful to suggest the managers are on borrowed time.

In recent years, Town have had a succession of bosses. Four seasons ago, Ernie Moss was fired after failing to win any of his first nine league games in charge, although he lost only three.

And last season, Andy Legg was sacked as Town took only one point from their opening nine league games.

But Gamble said: "We still have confidence in Mick and Andy and we are looking at signing new players. Money is available.

"Once we get the first win, we are up and running. I think we are not far away. Football is a confidence game, the first win is very important. We do need to strengthen and we are aware of that."

It was Town's dismal performance against fellow strugglers Burscough that set alarm bells ringing at Watnall Road.

In what was considered by many as a must-win game for The Yellows, they instead floundered against a side that had only won one game this season.

Town's commercial manager Simon Matters said: "The performance against Burscough was a total disgrace. The players let themselves and everyone else down.

"Burscough are no better than us. They also got a whole new squad in the summer but they played like they had played together for years and like they wanted to win."

There were rumours that the 3-1 defeat in the Setanta Shield against Hinckley at Watnall Road could have been the final nail in the coffin for Galloway and Miller.

As it is, they have been given a stay of execution on the premise that they strengthen the squad.

Gamble said: "It is all about stability. We are not panicking seven games into the season. We have identified the areas we need to improve and I am sure we will do so."

Matters said: "The managers have been told that they must recruit players to replace the ones that are possibly not good enough now."

The midfield has been identified as the main area for improvement and Galloway and Miller tried in part to rectify the problem with the loan signing of ex-Yellow Gareth Holmes from Ilkeston Town.

Central midfielder Holmes went straight into the starting line-up against Hinckley and scored Town's only goal as he put in a good shift.

Holmes was joined in the side by another ex-Yellow from Ilkeston, Dan Macpherson. The left-back has signed until the end of the season.

Town started brightly and took the lead after only four minutes thanks to a defensive mix-up by the visitors.

Knitters 'keeper Chris MacKenzie raced out to deal with a ball but failed to clear properly and was left stranded on the touchline. Holmes was left with the simple task of hitting the ball into the empty net.

But Town's lead did not last long. Four minutes later Hinckley were level as striker Adam Webster headed home an Andy Hall corner.

And then defender Leigh Platnauer gave Hinckley the lead on the half-hour when he scored with a low shot from 15 yards.

There were further chances before half time for the visitors from a Leon Kelly header and Platnauer volley.

Town came out fighting in the second half, looking for the equaliser, and they spent a lot of time in the Hinckley half, but without any success.

The visitors then wrapped up the victory in the 87th minute as frontman Kelly nodded home from close range after Webster had headed across goal.