New FC Halifax Town boss Darren Kelly believes the club is a sleeping giant and insists he’s the man to wake them up.
The former Oldham boss was appointed as Neil Aspin’s successor on Thursday and said he was honoured to be handed the reins at Halifax and had been impressed by the size of the club during his visits there this season.
Kelly believes the club has huge potential and is determined to instigate a change in fortunes, with Town currently second-from-bottom with just one win so far this season.
“I’ve been at a few games this season and I know what’s needed in order to get us up that league and that’s something me and my team will be working very hard to do,” he said.
“The club is a sleeping giant and what I want to do is wake it up.
“Everything’s there, the support, the size of the club and all everyone wants is the club to be in a good position.
“It needs someone to try and take it onto bigger and better things and I believe I’m the person to do that.
“It’s all about the results on the pitch. I suppose people will look at the league position but it can be a false table, and it’s still early in the season.
“For me, the most important thing is we’re second-from-bottom and we need to change that.
“I have no doubt through good performances, good results that we can get more supporters in and then that’s when we’ll waken it.
“How you do it in the end is when you’re fighting for promotion and that’s the key to it all.”
One of Kelly’s first tasks at the club will be to introduce a third weekly training session to add to the current Tuesday night and Thursday night get-togethers.
Monday nights have been pencilled in as the extra session, but other options are being considered.
“I know they’re part-time but I want to change that,” said Kelly.
“I think it’s important to do an extra day or night because I always like my teams to be fit and strong.
“The one guarantee you can have in games is that work ethic - that’s key.
“You can’t guarantee that people play well, you can try to get into people’s minds so they have the belief to go and play well.
“But ultimately we’ve got to work as hard as we can.
“I think it’s important to put in that third night or day (of training) in order to go forward because if you look at the majority of teams that are in the league, they’re full-time and we’ve got to match that.
“We’ve got to match them for 90 minutes on a Saturday or a Tuesday so it’s important that we’ve got the professionalism and the work ethic because I’m a big believer that you train how you play.
“If you work hard and show professionalism in training you then take that into a Saturday.
“If we want to be successful we’ve got to have those things nailed down.”
The Northern Irishman insists he has learnt from his brief spell at Oldham, which ended after just nine games earlier this season, and is now fully focused on establishing a full-time mentality at The Shay.
“I’m not worried about the past. I want to try and create the future,” he said.
“Obviously I left there earlier than expected but you move on.
“I’ve learnt a lot. I still stand by my philosophy, that will not change.
“I’ll make tweaks to it here and there but for me it’s about the present and creating the future and that means Halifax going up that league onto bigger and better things and that includes promotion.
“I want the players’ mentality to get into full-time mentality.
“Ideally I would want them in four times a week plus a game.
“Again we’d have to look at the logistics side of that but they’ll definitely be in three.
“But that wouldn’t be too dissimilar to full-time because Monday could be your recovery day, Tuesday’s your hard day, you’re off on a Wednesday, you’ll do a decent session on a Thursday and Friday’s tactics - that’s the way it works in full-time football.
“You break that down and you’ve got to ensure Monday’s a decent session, Tuesday’s a hard session, Thursday’s a hard session, you’re cramming quite a bit into Thursday, maybe taking the tactics from what would be the Friday session - but you’re creating that full-time mentality.
“If it works I think we’ll create something very good.
“If the players don’t buy into it, they’ll be left behind because we’ve got to wake this club up.
“I was speaking to the directors and seeing how passionate they are about being successful, I can’t wait to get going.
“But we’ve all got to buy into the vision of taking this club forward.”
Kelly believes relegation is not a possibility this season, despite Town’s sluggish start, and is preaching hard work on the training pitch to help move The Shaymen up the table.
“I said to the chairman that I know what needs to be done,” he said.
“I’m not worried about relegation in the slightest because it’s not going to happen.
“I’m a very hands-on coach on the training ground but the players here, it’s not that they’re not good enough, they are, but with the run they’ve had this season and last plays a part in confidence.
“I’m very big on man management, getting the best out of the players, working within a team and then when you start to get one result it has a good, positive effect and you get two, three and four.
“But ultimately the hard work will start on the training ground, making sure the players know their roles and responsibilities when they train and going into games and what they’ve got to do in and out of possession.”
Kelly insists playing budgets are yet to be discussed with chairman David Bosomworth, and is instead focusing on giving the current squad, who he met for the first time at training on Thursday, a chance to prove themselves.
“I think it’s important that it’s a clean slate,” he said.
“I spoke to the players last night (Thursday) and everybody is here to show what they can do and prove they should be in the team.
“The players should be looking at it from a positive point of view that a new manager’s come in and they can show me what they’re all about.
“Maybe for whatever reason it didn’t happen under the previous manager but for me it’s about the here and the now; show me what you can do.
“It’s important they have the belief they can win their individual battles and as a team they have the belief in each other.
“That’s a key message. At the end of the day, there’s no I in team. It’s about going out and playing for each other, individuals will be left behind.
“When you win together, it’s a great feeling. You lose together and you suffer.
“It’s important we try and create a good winning mentality, that in turn instills belief and confidence and through that we’ll get ourselves high up that league.”
Kelly stressed the importance of taking a varied tactical approach.
“For me there’s got to be a plan A, a plan B and a plan C,” he said.
“You’ve got to be able to play football but if you need to mix it up to have to.
“You look at a lot of philosophies and they run out at plan A because they just like to play football.
“That’s fine, we want to have that in the locker, but when you maybe hit a December or a January when the pitches aren’t so good, you need to be able to mix it up a bit.
“That’s about identifying the personnel or changing the present personnel’s mentality to be able to do that.
“But we’ll be making sure there’s no stone unturned with everything.”
Kelly said he was delighted to be working with assistant Jim Harvey, who has extensive experience of non-league management with the likes of Forest Green and Stalybridge.
“Jim knows the league well,” Kelly said.” He has 40-odd years of experience in the game and we’re a good combination.
“We worked together at Oldham and we bounce off each other.
“I’m a modern-thinking coach, he’s got the experience in abundance and I think it’s a great combination.”
Head of youth development Steve Nichol is expected to select the side to play Cheltenham on Saturday, with Kelly set to take a back seat role before taking the reins full-time from next week.
Kelly says a win against Cheltenham on Saturday would give the club a huge lift, and could be the start of a turnaround in Town’s fortunes.
“You get a win tomorrow against the third-placed team in the league - brilliant,” he said.
“I spoke to the players about this last night, you look at the games where we’ve lost this season and it’s not a nice feeling, it affects your life for the next couple of days.
“It hurts and that’s got to be enough to try and change things.
“But the flip side of that is if you win, it’s the best feeling in the world, your family life and everything is suddenly brighter.”
Kelly played with Town keeper Matt Glennon at Carlisle and insists he can have a positive effect on the keeper and his team-mates.
He added: “I played with Matty at Carlisle. He was a great keeper then.
“Very experienced, very knowledgeable player. One that I know the players look up to.
“There’s a nucleus of a good side there.
“There’s a lot of good quality but a lot maybe lacking that confidence, whether that’s through personal performances or the team losing.
“But working with the players, I think we can change that round in no time.”