Conneely excited by manager role

Joe Conneely says it’s an honour to become Hinckley AFC’s new manager and wants to build on the solid foundation put in by himself and Courtney Belford last season.

Conneely takes over the role after Belford’s departure due to work commitments, having spent two years as his assistant at the club.

And after helping guide the club to a second place finish last season, he says he’s delighted to be given the chance to build on that. He said: “It’s not ideal circumstances given Courtney needing to step down, but work and family life comes first and that’s what’s happened for Courtney. That’s understandable.

“I thank him massively for giving Ryan and I the chance to come and join him. What he’s done for us, in terms of giving us a chance, has been great. Above everything else I’ve made a great friend.

“But this is a job you can’t turn down. It’s a big club for the level, in my opinion the best around at step six. It’s an honour to be asked to take over.”

He says keeping an element of continuity will be important heading into the new season. He wants to keep the majority of last season’s squad at the club, only adding one or two new faces in certain areas.

“We know the club well after two good seasons. This was our first full season but we know the Board well, we know the fans well. It’s a fantastic fanbase. We know the expectations and I’d like to think we played exciting football. That gives us a solid foundation to work from.

“I’ve spoken to the majority of the lads from last season and I’m getting good vibes. Hopefully we can keep the majority and add one or two in the right areas.”

Conneely hopes to be able to confirm his assistant manager soon, as he shapes his backroom team.

But he says the close season is never his favourite – and he just wants to get going in August.

“This time of year is always a stressful one with players coming and going. I’d like to think we’d be fairly settled and only needing to add one or two more in.

“We’re looking forward to a new start. We’ll have plenty of sessions to get us ready with another friendly on top of what we’ve already announced.

“Bring on 6th August and the start of the new season!”

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