Dodsworth confident players will deliver for Handsworth

Toolstation NCEL Premier Division 

Handsworth joint manager Jason Dodsworth

New joint manager Jason Dodsworth is confident the current Handsworth squad is capable of delivering on the club’s aims for the season.

Dodsworth and Aiden Spowage were named as the new sheiffs last week following the sacking of Russ Eagle.

Like with any managerial changeover, that can bring a wide-scale player turnover but not at Handsworth according to Dodsworth.

“We have a good group of lads and the changing room is really good,” Dodsworth told Non League Yorkshire.

“We’ve had some good results.

“Yes we had the two losses but we have picked up two wins this week and I’m hopeful we can keep the run going.

“There’s no excuses but we have had some big injuries which we don’t moan about or shout about.

“You have to deal with it and that’s why you have a squad.

“If we haven’t had these injuries, would be higher up the table? Probably so because they are big players.

“But they’re coming back and the squad is looking strong again and the competition for places is really good.

“I don’t think we need to change much.

“You may see one-or-two new ones come in but there’ll not be many.

“As long as these lads stick at it and keep performing there’s no reason to.

“We don’t want to break this group up.

“Me and Aiden are really happy with these lads and we have some great players and they get on really well.

“I think they can only go forward.”

New Handsworth joint manager Jason Dodsworth and Aiden Spowage

James Oliver, Rikki Paylor, Anthony Mackie and Ben Teasdale are some of the injured players who have missed recent games.

Handsworth – who host Penistone Church at Olivers Mount on Wednesday night – are tenth with 18 points but they have games-in-hand on the teams above due to their FA Cup adventure.

But there’ll be no bold ambition spelt out by Dodsworth, who originally joined Handsworth as Eagle’s joint assistant in the summer.

“Personally I don’t like to put a target on where we want to finish or should finish because it just puts pressure on yourself,” he said.

“We know what the chairman wants and we’re happy with that.

“We should be up and around it in the top six and I’d be disappointed if we’re not.

“If you look at the table; Grimsby are flying and Eccleshill are on an unbelievable run and they turned Grimsby over at the weekend.

“Due to our FA Cup run we have fallen behind with our games so if we can catch them up by getting the wins we want then we’re not far away at all.

“But there’s no set targets, no pressure.”

The joint manager position is Dodsworth’s first since leaving Nostell Miners Welfare in early 2020 after the pandemic began.

His other major dugout role was the same job at Athersley Rec which he held for many years.

“I was happy to go in as an assistant to get back into the game as I had a year out and to get the job is fantastic,” he said.

“The club has so much potential and has a huge set-up from the youth section to the first team.

“It is probably one of the best jobs in the league.

“It is a dream job. I wouldn’t have thought I would be in this position 12 months ago.

“I have to thank John Ward the chairman and Steve Holmes the vice-chairman.

“The work they do is unbelievable.

“Steve is down there every day and all day.

“It is great to work for them and I’m thankful they have faith in me and Aiden to do the job.”

Spowage, the former Worksop Town under 19s chief, had assisted Eagle since 2019 and Dodsworth says they have a great relationship.

“We’re working together really well to say we have known each other a few months,” he said.

“He’s a great coach and his training sessions are class.

“We get on well and we get on with the lads and he has a great future in Non League Football, 100%.

“We complement each other.

“He’s a lot better at doing what he’s doing with the training and the coaching and I get out there getting players and man-managing players.

“It worked at the start of the season when we took the lads when Russ was away after his operation and it has started well this week.”

Russ Eagle

Dodsworth also paid tribute to the departed Eagle.

“He has done a great job at Handsworth,” he said.

“We obviously built this team together at the start of pre-season and we put a good side together.

“I’m sure he’ll do a good job wherever he goes.”

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