Guy Heffernan can see plenty of untapped potential at Nelson Football Club and the former Blackpool defender is on a crusade to get the Admirals back in to the top flight.
The assistant Blues boss, who steers the ship at Victoria Park alongside Andy Harrison, wants to secure promotion from the North West Counties First Division North within the next two seasons.
Heffernan, who also featured for Rochdale, Fleetwood Town, Barrow, Lancaster City and Kendal Town during his playing days, evaluated the club’s 2018/19 campaign in a positive manner as they finished up in 14th position.
The 35-year-old, who worked under the likes of Steve McMahon, Keith Hill and Colin Hendrie once upon a time, has helped stabalise the club since joining from Holker Old Boys late last year and is now hopeful that further progression can be made.
Ahead of a third successive season in the second tier, a result of relegation from the Premier Division in 2017, Heffernan said: “We came in to the club halfway through last season so we were just trying to get things back on track.
“We wanted to get the lads playing with smiles on their faces again and getting them to enjoy their football. There’s a happy vibe around the place now.
“Nelson could be a massive club; the potential is there. It’s got a good history, an impressive background, and there’s a good bunch of lads at the club.
“There was a lot of change before we arrived, that’s something that the chairman, Fayyaz Ahmed, picked up on.
“There were managers coming and going, but we’ve been able to steady the ship and now we want to build on that. We’ve got a lot of ideas going forward and plenty of ambition.”
Heffernan, whose career in the Football League was cut short when he suffered an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injury in 2006, has targeted a top 10 finish first of all.
Losing club captain Ash Brierley, who switched to the Silentnight Stadium, is a big blow for the Blues while AFC Fylde youngsters Harvey McAdam and Rory Kelly have returned to their parent club.
However, they’ve brought in former Colne midfielder Joe Garvin in a bid to achieve their goal next term and have added Barnoldswick Town pair Aaron Hollindrake and Jack Coop in to their ranks at Little Wembley.
“First and foremost we want to break in to the top 10,” said Heffernan. “We just missed out last season after a poor run of results towards the end of the season.
“That’s got to be our aim. We want to improve our points tally, we want to score more goals and keep more clean sheets.
“Within 24 months we want to get the club promoted back to the top tier. We need to build the foundations first and then go on a proper march.
“The nucleus of the squad is still there, which is important, and they are more than capable of being successful at this level.
“We like to get the ball down and play; we’ve got some great players. It’s a community club and we want to sport a brand that will get the fans back on board. This is a brand new set up and a brand new start for Nelson Football Club.”
The club is on the lookout for new sponsors for the 2019/20 campaign. Any individuals or businesses interested in getting involved, or would like to find out more information regarding sponsorship opportunities, can contact Joseph Ormond at Salvador Health on 07470 009434 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.