Lions caretaker boss keen for smooth transition

Neil Walton
Neil Walton

Heanor Town’s caretaker manager Neil Walton says he’s keen to see as smooth a transition as possible as the Lions look to appoint a new boss.

Walton took charge alongside Cory Bowler after the departure of Dan Martin last week, overseeing a 2-1 defeat at home to Selston on Saturday and then a resounding 6-0 win at struggling West Bridgford on Tuesday night.

And rather than throwing his name into the hat for the job, he wants to keep things as steady as possible in the meantime.

He said: “I haven’t really given it any thought in terms of whether I want the job. When Dan stepped down it was a bit of a shock but my job’s been to keep the lads to gether, regroup and allow those in charge at the club to do what they want to do and work out who to appoint.

“I just want to get through training sessions and games and to keep that transition smooth and help whoever is coming in however I can.

“Does it affect the players? Yes and no.

“Lots of questions naturally arose when Dan left and the lads of course wanted answers and maybe some panic and worry a bit and some are happier than others.

“It’s not ideal but the players have to realise that whatever happens around the club, it’s not their problem to deal with.

“There’s the chairman and other people in positions to look after that and the players just have to concentrate on the football.

“It’s probably only human nature to feel the pressure but they just need to focus on the job in hand.”

Walton was disappointed with the result against Selston having seen his side perform well but fail to take enough chances.

He said: “We’re massively disappointed as I thought we’d done enough to get a point from the game at the very least.

“We had three or four good chances in the first-half and should have been out of sight and over the 90 minutes to get a point.

“In the end we lost concentration and turned off for a split second late in the game and we’ve conceded with not much time left.

“You always run the risk, when you create chances and don’t take them, that you’ll be punished and left to think about the ifs, buts and maybes. Put those chances away and it’s a different game.

“We perhaps put too much emphasis on getting the three points and maybe put too much pressure on ourselves and ended up trying too hard, so maybe if we’d relaxed a bit more we may have got more reward for our hard work.

“The frenetic pace perhaps suited us a bit at first and we got our noses in front, but we couldn’t take those chances to get us out of sight.”

At West Bridgford on Tuesday night, Jamie Sleigh netted five times in a comfortable win, Kyle Daley with the other goal.

Walton said: “From minute on the boys showed their intent to win a game of football and were outstanding. The desire was there to punish West Bridgford and we did that.

“You want to see your forwards scoring so Jamie Sleigh deserves great credit but the whole team were superb.”

Heanor now prepare to face Dunkirk at home in the FA Vase on Saturday.