An FA Cup exit, an injury crisis and a very early retirement in a tough week for Heanor Town

Heanor Town v Mansfield Town.'Jack Hawkins in action against the Stags on Tuesday night.
Heanor Town v Mansfield Town.'Jack Hawkins in action against the Stags on Tuesday night.

Heanor Town are seemingly jinxed, with injuries stacking up just a couple of weeks into the new season.

The Lions, missing six first choice players, were dumped out of the FA Cup on Saturday by old foes Kirby Muxloe, losing 2-1.

Goalkeeper Damien Clarke sustained an injury during Saturday’s game, and had to be replaced by goalkeeping coach Mark Frost.

And to make matters worse, midfielder Jack Hawkins has apparently retired this week, at the age of 20.

Boss Glen Clarence was an angry man at 4.45pm, calling the performance a ‘let down’ and accusing players of going missing.

Speaking in midweek, with the benefit of a few days to calm down, he was still of the opinion that this was a game there for the taking.

“We had six players missing, but I still think we had enough quality to beat them,” he said.

“We still had a better side out than them, and on the day they were better than us, and wanted it more.”

Clarence hinted that some changes, or at least additions to the squad might be necessary.

“Things that we thought were right aren’t quite right, so we need to put them right and maybe need to bring a few in.

“Our injured players are still unavailable so that doesn’t help, Damo is out, we have a keeper on holiday so we’re struggling a bit.

“But I’m hoping to sort something for the weekend, and if not Frosty, who was brought in as a goalkeeping coach, might have to do a job for us.”

He confirmed the departure of Hawkins, who tweeted that he was packing up the sport, and admitted it was a blow.

“We wanted him to give it a few more games,” he said.

“He’s come through the Mansfield Academy, and was on the bench most of last season with Worksop, he hasn’t been playing as much as he wants to.

“We’re disappointed, we thought I would have played a big part in this season, but we wish him well for the future.”

Heanor hope to bounce back from their FA Cup defeat when they travel to Coleshill on Saturday, but despite the lowly position of the opposition in the Midland Premier, Clarence is taking nothing for granted.

“We need to look after ourselves and improve, it will be a tough test,” he said.

“They were second last year, they won 11-0 in the FA Cup on Saturday, they’re a decent side, we’ll have to be at our best – we weren’t at our best last Saturday.”