New boss Russell ‘not scared of challenge’

NMAC11-1095-11''Stags v Gateshead''Duncan Russell and Paul Hall
NMAC11-1095-11''Stags v Gateshead''Duncan Russell and Paul Hall

New manager Duncan Russell walked into Watnall Road this week and declared: “I’m not scared of a challenge.”

The challenge is a considerable one, with Town in freefall on the pitch and cash-strapped off the field.

But a confident Russell said: “If we do it the right way, I think we can bring a bit of success back to the club, which will hopefully breed more interest among fans.

“It’s not going to be an overnight fix. But the committee want to get the club back to where it was, and we will certainly give it a good crack.”

Russell confesses he is fazed by the fact that, because of Town’s financial crisis, he must build a team of unpaid amateurs .

But he is confident that he and assistant Paul Hall have the contacts to turn the club’s fortunes around in the Northern Counties East League next season.

“Trying to motivate players can be difficult without pay,” Russell said.

“But I still think there is a hard-core of footballers out there who, providing their expenses are covered, will treat things professionally.

“We will try to motivate them in other ways, and they will certainly enjoy our training sessions.

“With part-time players at this level, you have short exposure with them. Therefore our training programmes will be designed to reflect that.

“It will be a case of being as professional as we can be.

“I must admit that stamina and endurance are big factors for me. Once they are in place, if we can get organised, we have a chance.”

Russell said he was happy to give a chance to the players who ended the season at Town. “But I want to bolster the squad, especially with a couple of good old heads,” he said.

Russell also raised the pospect of generating fresh sponsorship and investment to ease his financial restraints .

And he is keen to rebuild Town’s relationship with the local community, which has been neglected in recent years.

“Things such as soccer schools are the foundation of the club,” Russell went on.

“We need to bring local talent in to get the fans interested and help create a family atmosphere.”

Russell is also sure his bubbly assistant Hall will quickly become a favourite with fans.

“He’s very dedicated, very professional and very knowledgable,” he said.

“He’s also a good coach with a wealth of experience. There can’t be many assistant managers in the Northern Counties East League who have played in the World Cup!”