Heeley: There's a belief in the camp

DETERMINED: Striker Mike Symons returns to former club Oxford City for Worcester City tonight.

DETERMINED: Striker Mike Symons returns to former club Oxford City for Worcester City tonight.

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

WORCESTER City head to Oxford City tonight (7.45) believing they can be successful this season, according to manager Carl Heeley.

The Blue and Whites began their Conference North campaign with a 2-2 draw against Stalybridge Celtic at Aggborough on Saturday.

Despite not getting off to a winning start, there were plenty of positives to take from the match going into tonight’s Marsh Lane encounter.

“There’s a belief in the camp that we can do well and achieve things, which is great,” Heeley said.

“Whether it be at Aggborough or away, we’ll always try to win, we’ll never try to shut up shop or grind out a draw. That starts with our first away trip at Oxford — we’ll go to win the game.”

City are looking for their first win at Oxford since tonight’s hosts were promoted to Conference North following 2-2 and 0-0 draws on their last two visits.

Justin Merritt’s team are aiming to build on Saturday’s Javi Rodriguez-inspired 1-0 victory at Hyde and will have captain Darren Mullings available despite his red card against the Tigers.

Tonight’s match also sees Mike Symons return to the club he left in the summer to rejoin Worcester.

But Heeley believes the striker, who struggled for form at Oxford following two successful seasons at Worcester, will be focused on earning three points for his current employers.

Heeley said: “I don’t know whether he’ll have anything to prove because he’s quite a laid-back lad. But he’s hard to play against and Stalybridge’s centre-halves didn’t win a clean header all day.

“We had more ball retention in the final third because of that. Maybe we could have used it a little bit better but that will come in time.

“The key thing is getting the ball into good areas, making it stick first and foremost and then getting support to the runners.

“I’m sure he’ll go back to Oxford and want to win a game for Worcester City.”

Worcester have a clean bill of health and could keep faith with the same side, including two-goal hero Nick Wright, but Heeley hasn’t ruled out making changes.

“We’ll get a report back from Oxford and try to set ourselves based on that,” the Worcester boss said.

“With the 18 or so players we’ve got in the squad, they are all capable lads and all bring something different.

“I am comfortable whichever 11 we select will be good enough. It isn’t about 11 players, it’s about a squad. You need to be able to freshen things up because you’re going to get injuries.”

He added: “It’s still not a big squad — there are 18 or so proven players and then there are the young lads who have still got a lot to prove, but it’s an opportunity for them.”

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