Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Walsham-le-Willows stretch unbeaten run under manager Fergus O'Callaghan
Fergus O’Callaghan believes that a ‘competitive edge’ within the squad has been a major factor in Walsham-le-Willows’ positive start to life under his management.
Upon his appointment last month, O’Callaghan inherited a side rooted to the foot of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division with just one victory to their name.
However, O’Callaghan’s impact has been impressive, with Tuesday’s 1-0 win at high-flying Norwich United in the last 16 of the League Challenge Cup extending the boss’ unbeaten run in charge to eight matches.
“It is pleasing how quickly things have turned around. We have given the lads a little bit of direction and they seem to have reacted to me coming in,” he said.
“One of my main strengths as a manager is motivation, and if we can get other things right like our shape and tactics – which it looks like we have so far – it creates a good environment.
“We were missing two or three players at Norwich, but the lads that came in played well.
“That sort of thing has created a competitive edge and that is what we have been looking for. Nobody is guaranteed a place in the team, and that has been made clear.
“Apart from Kieran Hagan (goalscorer against Norwich), this is a squad I inherited and they have all done everything that they can to impress.”
Walsham, who beat Kirkley & Pakefield 3-1 last weekend with goals from Lee Hammond, Ryan Clark and Jack Spampanato, have a tough-looking trip to Newmarket Town ahead of them tomorrow (3pm).
The Jockeys have picked 19 points from a possible 21 at the Tristel Stadium this term, scoring 19 goals in the process – only runaway leaders Stowmarket Town have netted more on their own patch.
Newmarket also have a 3G pitch, all of which means it is likely to provide a stern test of O’Callaghan’s unbeaten start in the Walsham dugout.
“You look at Newmarket’s result at Haverhill last week (a 4-3 win) and the manner they got it – that is what they are like,” he added.
“They seem to give teams chances when they are away but they are brilliant at home.
“They obviously know that surface very well, they train on it each week and will know how to move the ball around effectively.
“This one, along with Mildenhall away the following week, are two big games in relation to the hard work we have put in so far.
“We are going to have to work extremely hard to get anything from those two matches.”
More by this authorLiam Apicella