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Clarets: Hawkes will bring enjoyment back to Melbourne Stadium
7:00am Thursday 5th December 2013 in Local Sport
CLARET fans can “finally look forward to the rest of the season” with a new management team in place, says chairman Mansell Wallace.
Former Heybridge Swifts manager Mark Hawkes made the switch from Scraley Road last week, bringing assistant manager Steve Smith with him.
Their first match in the dugout resulted in a morale-boosting 3-1 victory over Farnborough in the Skrill South.
It was an ideal start for the newcomers, and Wallace can’t wait to see what happens next.
“It’s great to have a management team in place who are local lads with passion, and they’re good people,” he explained, with another home fixture coming up this Saturday against Basingstoke Town, followed by a trip to Maidenhead United on Tuesday.
“It was very difficult to whittle down all the applications we received.
“We interviewed five in the end, who were all very capable.
“We’ve tried out appointing a big name and it didn’t work.
“Now Mark and Steve have a lot to prove to the supporters and themselves.
“What we’re looking for now is stability, so Mark can bring in his own players ready for next season.
“We need a squad who are playing for each other, not as 11 individuals, and we’re already starting to see bonding going on between the current players.
“The new manager came in on Thursday night and told the players in no uncertain terms what was expected of them.
“Putting Sam Long at right-back was an inspired decision as he had his best game of the season.
“It was also brilliant to see young Joe Ward come in and do so well on his full debut. He’s deserved his chance and I’m certain he’ll go far in the game. Joe is a real asset to us so we need to get the most out of him.”
And Wallace noted a different atmosphere in the ground at the weekend, signalling a new era for the club as they aim to pull themselves away from trouble at the wrong end of the table.
He continued: “The celebrations on Saturday were brilliant – every player fought for the ball and it’s given the whole place a lift.
“We’ve seen an immediate turnaround in our fortunes so now, if we can bring in players in key positions, we really can look forward to the rest of the season.
“Finances are very tight at the moment as we budgeted on crowds and they’ve been disappointing so far, so our hands have been tied.
“The more people we get through the door, the more it will relieve the pressure and I’m confident we can bridge that gap.”
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