New Eastwood CFC joint-boss Paul Rockley positive ahead of Sleaford Town visit

Eastwood CFC joint-manager Paul Rockley says he’s keen for the Red Badgers to hit the ground running as he and Zander Shayler take charge of their first game this weekend.

By Mark Duffy
Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 12:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 2:30 pm
Eastwood's Charlie Marzano in action against Long Eaton United last month.
Eastwood's Charlie Marzano in action against Long Eaton United last month.

Last Saturday’s game with Deeping Rangers was initially due to be their debut fixture, but the wintry weather put paid to the game being played and instead Rockley and Shayler were allowed extra time to put their new charges through their paces in training.

Now, with Sleaford Town due to visit the Hallbrooke Stadium this weekend, Rockley is raring to go.

He said: “Obviously we’re always looking to play so it was frustrating to see Saturday’s game have to be postponed.

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"But we have got some new signings through the door so it’s given us a chance to integrate them into the squad a bit more in training and make it a more positive week despite the unfortunate delay.”

Rockley says there have been players come and go since he and Shayler took over from Stephen Kirkham, with the inevitable departures countered by new faces, which the club are due to announce in due course and who have joined up with what Rockley says is a good core of players who have been at the club for some time.

He said: “Obviously at this level, when managers come and go you tend to lose players who are perhaps loyal to those managers but we have absolutely no problem with that and one or two have left but, as with Stephen, we wish them well and they’ll always be welcome back.

"Zander and I are confident of building a squad that continues to build on the good foundations not only put down by Stephen but also numerous managers before him, rather than seeing it entirely as starting from scratch.

"We have players who have been here a while and they’ll continue to be part of our plans. What we do need is game time and training sessions to fully assess where we’re at but we are happy with what we’ve got at the moment and are keen to hit the ground running.”

After the Sleaford game, Eastwood go to Melton Town next Tuesday night as they aim to build on their current ninth place in the United Counties League North standings.

Rockley said: “We’ll be getting reports back on all our opponents and getting out to as many games as we can when we don’t have matches or training commitments.

"Both the club and us as a management team have objectives for this season and it’s a case of starting as well as we can and seeing where we are long-term.”

On his working relationship with Shayler, Rockley added: “I've known Zander for a long time, since I was at the club working under Paul MacFarland back in 2014 when Zander was doing a lot of work behind the scenes.

"He’s had a great influence on the club in general, not just with the first team but also the youth setup as well, so between us I hope we’ll be able to continue that.”

After the Melton game, Eastwood currently have a free weekend scheduled before going to Leicester Nirvana on December 18. They then host Heanor Town on December 28 in a local derby.