Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Russ Eagle has hailed assistant managers Jason Dodsworth and Aiden Spowage who led Handsworth to five wins in six games during his absence.
Eagle, whose side are set for some Friday night football with the FA Vase tie with Golcar United at Olivers Mount, stepped aside after winning the opening day clash with Silsden due to a major operation on his leg.
He returned to the helm for the FA Cup defeat of Coventry United last week and he is incredibly grateful to how well Dodsworth and Spowage have steered the ship.
“They have been outstanding,” Eagle told Non League Yorkshire.
“I did give them the heads up that it was going to happen at some stage.
“I thought it might be later in the season but I can’t big them up enough for what they have done.
“The way they took it on and got on with it and done what they have done has been outstanding.
“If I’d lost on Saturday I think I’d have lost my job with what they’ve done!
“Whatever accolades anybody wants to give them I’d back them 100% as they have been brilliant.
“Their record is outstanding.
“We worked really hard in pre-season as a club to recruit well and to get lads to buy into what we’re doing.
“(Jase and Aiden) have just steamrolled on with it.”
For Eagle, a football obsessive, the last five weeks have been difficult.
“I missed six games all together,” he said.
“I missed four physically, i.e not seeing.
“The other two I saw from the stand.
“It has killed me missing it, it has been tough.
“The first three-and-half-weeks, I was completely housebound.
“I’ve only just got the crutches so I have been bedridden – I’ve only been able to hobble from bed to settee.
“But thanks to the League website, Twitter, your Non League Yorkshire, it has been good.”
Unfortunately Eagle was unable to persuade the club to set up an ‘iFollow’ service for him – neither is there is no story of a ranting Eagle giving the half-time hairdryer treatment over the phone or on FaceTime.
“Ten to three was try to get Spow in the changing room if possible or Jase – didn’t happen,” he said.
“I tried everything but I think Aiden and Jason have gone ‘oh its him, red button’!
“Five to three, tried to get (vice-chairman) Steve Holmes but couldn’t get him as he was on the microphone.
“Five past three I was ringing anyone who would answer their phone but they didn’t.
“Luckily there’s Twitter, your page, the Counties website so I had a laptop, a tablet and a phone and I was just refreshing all the time.”
Handsworth kick off at 8pm against the North West Counties League club of the month and Eagle hopes to preserve their unbeaten home run against a side containing Ash Flynn.
“People have come here and if you underestimate us you’ll get beat,” he said.
“We will treat them with the respect they deserve and we’ll set how we want to set up and we’ll just have a go.
“When they turn up we’ll probably know nine or ten of them but they’re no mugs.”