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The Non-League Football Paper

Hednesford boss looks to the future

HEDNESFORD boss Bernard McNally is already looking at players for next season – and admits it could be a challenge ensuring that captain Ben Bailey leads the side out in ten months’ time.

McNally returned to Keys Park six weeks ago some five years after leaving, replacing Rob Smith and Larry Chambers who themselves made a comeback to manage AFC Telford United for a second time.

The 52-year-old got off to a bad start, thrashed 4-0 by Alfreton in his first game back at the helm but since then things have improved. His side have remained unbeaten in the National League North as he looks to implement his passing style on a side struggling for consistency.

But McNally is forward thinking and says he already has one eye on the 2015-16 campaign.

He explained: “That’s not me suggesting we have written off this season, not at all – we’re still confident of having a good year, there’s so much to play for. We’re excited for what’s ahead of us.

“But I’ve always looked ahead, the weeks and the months go very quickly, it’s never been about the here and now with me.

“It’s my policy that if you aren’t going forward then you’re standing still. I have my ideas. I have players in mind and I know a few who I would like to sign. I have inherited a squad with some players who are on contract and some who aren’t – we’re a club in a bit of a transitional period, so I’m taking stock and looking to kick on.

Hednesford boss Bernard McNally

Hednesford boss Bernard McNally

“We’re starting to play my way now and I want to make progress. I needed to make us stronger physically too – we need to kick our way out of situations when we need to kick our way out, and I’m pleased by what I’ve seen so far.”

One player who has caught the new manager’s eye is Bailey.

The 24-year-old is already attracting admiring glances from elsewhere and McNally knows he has the ability to play at a higher level.

He is wary about offers that may come his skipper’s way but says he won’t lose sleep over it.

The manager said: “He’s a tremendous captain. He was born and bred here and is a real fans’ favourite.

“Sides must already be looking at him. Obviously he is very well known in the west Midlands and people talk.

“He is certainly in my long-term plans as he is a stronger leader for us. He’s been brilliant since I’ve arrived.”

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