Legg looking forward to player/manager challenge

LESS than three months after joining Hucknall Town, Andy Legg finds himself thrust into the spotlight as their new player/manager.

Uncannily, after Dean Barrick, he is the second ex-professional left-back to become boss in recent years.

But the 40-year-old Legg confessed he had mixed feelings when accepting the job.

"It's nice to get a chance but disappointing in such circumstances because Kevin Wilson brought me to the club and I like him and get on with him really well," he said.

"But that's what happens at football clubs and I am sure he will be back in another job soon.

"A manager is only as good as the players who perform and I think the players, including myself, have let him down over the last few weeks.

"However we just have to get on with it now and I am looking forward to the challenge."

Legg, who will continue to play, has made 14 appearances for Town since being snapped up from League Of Wales outfit Llanelli at the end of October.

After sacking Wilson, the club turned to him because of his experience and because they needed someone to step in immediately before their promotion challenge faded away.

"He has the respect of the players and we think he is the right man to take us forward," said vice-chairman Dave Gamble.

A Wales international who won six caps, Legg enjoyed an illustrious professional playing career, which spanned 18 years and 640 appearances.

It began at Swansea City, from where he joined Notts County for 250,000. After 200 starts at Meadow Lane, where he played alongside Wilson, he made another 250,000 move to Birmingham City and later had spells at Ipswich Town, Reading, Peterborough United and Cardiff City. He became renowned for his prodigious long throws.

Legg lives locally, in lambley, which is a legacy of his days at Notts County.

And he should be able to devote plenty of time to Town because he is not currently working, which is a legacy of his two well-publicised battles against cancer.

"I am still in remission but I get very tired some days," Legg confided. "It is something I have to live with and it's pointless worrying about it.

"The last time I saw a specialist, I got the all-clear for six months. If it comes back, it comes back. I will just have to fight it again."

Legg says he has enjoyed his brief time at Watnall Road and is now urging the players to grasp the chance of reaching the promotion play-offs.

"The people are nice and friendly at the club and we have a good set of lads," he said.

"But they need to roll up their sleeves and dig in because I don't think they realise how close they are to achieving something.

"They need to make sure they don't throw the season away.

"They are close to getting into the top division of the Conference, which is only one step away from the Football League.

"They don't seem to realise that means not only the club doing well but also themselves as players."

Legg plans to assess the Town squad in the coming weeks but says "everyone starts on an even keel".

"Everyone will be given a chance and if they do well, they will keep the shirt," he said. "If they don't, they will be out, whoever they might be.

"That's the way I was brought up and that's the way it will be. We have a decent enough squad that perhaps needs one or two new signings.

"Possibly we need more competition for places because if players are in the comfort zone, you don't get the best out of them.

"But we definitely need a dominant centre-half. No disrespect to the ones at the club already but they are too nice.

"We need a nasty piece of work who frightens people and we have one in mind (Tony Vaughan, SEE ABOVE LEFT)."

With regard to new signings, Legg admits he needs "to get to know the non-league scene a bit more", although he has plenty of Football League contacts.

But he's happy to be judged on his achievements in the coming weeks before he's put on any kind of contract.

"I am the type of person who wants to earn what he gets," he continued.

"As a player, I was not one of those who bangs on the door for a pay rise. I want to earn it first and let the manager call me in."

If he is successful, it is unlikely that Legg will be at Watnall Road too long. For he makes no secret of the fact that he harbours ambitions to manage in the Football League and was granted two interviews for the recent vacancy at Brentford where he made the final shortlist of five.

But for now, Andy Legg is the manager of Hucknall Town and his message to the fans is that he will do his best to win promotion at the end of the season.

"If I fail, it won't be for the lack of trying," he added. "The hard work has been done, getting near the top. Now hopefully I can keep us there."