Heeley aims to ensure Worcester City survival

CARL HEELEY: Focused on keeping City up.

CARL HEELEY: Focused on keeping City up.

First published in Sport Worcester News: Photograph of the Author by

CARL Heeley says he is determined to succeed in his mission to keep Worcester City in Skrill North.

The Blue and Whites took a significant step towards ensuring their survival by beating Stalybridge Celtic 2-1 on Saturday to move 11 points clear of the drop zone.

It has been a remarkable turnaround for City, who have gone from starring relegation in the face at the end of last year to taking 18 points from a possible 30 in 2014.

Manager Heeley said: “I was given a job in the summer to manage the transition moving from our own ground to Aggborough, deal with losing pretty much all of my squad, work on a vastly reduced budget and, on top of that, keep us in the league.

“I was up for the challenge, I discussed it with Matt (Gardiner) and John (Snape) and we said we’d give it a go and we have no intention of failing.

“We’re delighted with the start to 2014, it couldn’t have been much better, but we’ve still got a long way to go and we won’t be taking our foot off the gas.

“As much as it was a great win for us, we’re not home and dry yet.

“We’ve still got some work to do but, if we keep showing those characteristics and playing the surfaces as they need to be played, then we’ll be fine.”

He added: “We said there would be ups and downs and this season hasn’t thrown anything at us that we didn’t expect.

“I said to trust me, Matt and John, because we’re vastly experienced in non-league football.

“We know what needs to be done, we’ve been in this situation before and, credit to the board, they’ve backed our judgement and allowed us to bring one or two players in and that could prove to be key.”

Meanwhile, keeper Jose Veiga is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury in training.

Although City could have called on former Forest Green Rovers stopper Matt Bulman, Heeley opted to bring in Ryan Boot, who played three games for Worcester in November, on loan from Port Vale until the end of the season.

The City manager said: “I looked at Matt’s pedigree but I haven’t really seen him play and nor had his manager Adie Pennock at Forest Green. All he’d done was train.

“I made a call to get Ryan back and thanks to Port Vale for allowing us to have him because I know what he can do and he’s been there with us before.

“I thought he was assured and he kicks the ball very well.”

Meanwhile, frustrated boss Andy Thorn described Kidderminster Harriers’ defending as “appalling” after Saturday’s 5-1 loss at Cambridge.

“We controlled the game for long spells and created so many chances,” said Thorn.

“Attacking-wise, that was probably the best we’ve been.

“To give away the goals we did was disappointing. Cambridge didn’t even have to work for them.”

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