New Sports bosses hopeful of beating the weather to start 'biggest challenge'
TAKING on the role as manager of Mickleover Sports is, according to new manager Glenn Kirkwood, his biggest challenge to date.
Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins will take charge of their first game for Sports tomorrow when they visit Romulus.
And with the West Midlands side playing their home games on an artificial pitch, the chances of the match being on are pretty good.
"It's very exciting and a big challenge for Craig and I," said Kirkwood, who has left Heanor after three-and-a-half years at the helm.
During their time at the Town Ground, the pair led the Lions from the lower half of the East Midlands Counties League to mid-table in the Northern Counties East Premier Division.
They have the tough job of trying to keep Mickleover in the Evo-Stik League but Kirkwood is confident that they can do it.
"We wouldn't have taken the job if we didn't think we could keep them up," he said.
"It's a bit of a learning curve for us but we have great belief in our own abilities.
"We met the players for the first time at training on Wednesday night and they're all keen to impress.
"Craig and I have told them that everyone starts with a clean sheet and we now have the difficult task of choosing a starting 11 for tomorrow's game from the 20 or so players who came to training.
"It's a chance for everyone to start afresh and show what they can do.
"Mickleover are a keen, fit, sharp side and are fairly young. They're technically very good and I can't wait to get started."
Kirkwood admits that he will have to bring in experienced players to balance the side.
But the former Burton Albion, Ilkeston Town and Chesterfield player won't be digging out his boots in the near future.
"I hung my boots up a couple of years ago – and they're not coming back out!" he said.
"I did once have to help Heanor out but I won't be playing for Mickleover any time soon."
It is fairly common that, once a manager moves on, some players will follow.
But, as yet, no-one has jumped ship from Heanor, although the Lions have said that there are question marks regarding the future of two of the club's players.