AFC HAYES READY FOR THE FIGHT
Palmer tells Hayes team ‘to roll their sleeves up’ FOOTBALL
PAUL Palmer believes he has all the right credentials to keep AFC Hayes up after guiding North Greenford United away from the trapdoor last season.
Palmer took over in the Farm Park hot seat last week following Ian Crane’s departure, taking charge of a side rock bottom of the Southern League Central with just two wins all season.
The size of his task was made all the more evident with a 4-0 defeat at Egham in his first game on New Year’s Day, but Palmer is used to scrapping at the bottom.
He took the reins at North Greenford last February after Neil Shipperley left, but was sacked in September despite keeping them up and being responsible for two of only five wins United have enjoyed this season.
Palmer said: “It’s a dog fight down there and you have to roll your sleeves up and grind out results. It’s easy enough when you’re Kettering and have the cash to spend, but I have to call in favours, which is what I did at North Greenford.
“I will be doing the same here – bringing in players I know and trust to dig us out of it. But there are a few here already we can definitely work with too. Jake Cass, for example, is an outstanding player at this level.
“There are never any guarantees, but I am confident I can keep Hayes up, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing the job. I’ve done it with North Greenford and I believe I can do it here.”
By chance, North Greenford are the team immediately above AFC in the table, with Palmer’s new club only three points behind his old one, who sit second bottom.
He added: “I didn’t see eye to eye with some people there and I feel I was harshly treated, especially after we beat Bedworth and Hanwell at the start of the season.
“I don’t hold any grudges, but there is definitely a point to prove. I wish North Greenford all the best, but if I have to send them down to keep Hayes up, that’s just football.”
Palmer will be hoping to reproduce the performance his North Greenford side put in against high-flying Hanwell Town back in September when he takes his new club to Reynolds Field on Saturday.
AFC’s home game with Royston Town at the weekend was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch, as were the home games of Northwood and Uxbridge, who were due to entertain Barton Rovers and Aylesbury respectively.
Northwood and Uxbridge were due to be back in action last night (Tuesday), at home to Bedford and away to Leighton respectively.
This weekend, Mark Burgess’ Woods are at Godalming, while Tony Choules’ Reds visit Rugby.
The weather also wreaked havoc with the Spartan South Midlands League fixtures, but Harefield United and Hillingdon Borough will hope to return to Premier Division action at home to Cockfosters and away at Holmer Green respectively on Saturday.
New AFC Hayes boss Paul Palmer (right) and assistant Colin Brown watch their side lose to Egham on New Year’s Day
Photo by Alistair Wilson