Nailers plan for the final third

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It has been a quiet week for Belper Town who were without a game last weekend and have had plenty of time to take stock and plan for the final third of the season.

Manager Peter Duffield will use this time to fine-tune his squad in readiness to make a determined effort to get the Nailers into the Premier Division for season 2013/14.In many ways it has been a disappointing campaign after starting off back in August with so much promise after the club appointed Tommy Taylor as manager following the departure of Andy Carney at the end of last season.

But the former West Ham United defender lasted only nine competitive games before being shown the door with opinion divided as to whether he had been given enough time to make his mark, but nevertheless after a 2-0 defeat on plastic at Sutton Coldfield he was to be ushered out of the back door.

Seven points from the first eight league games and elimination from the FA Cup at Deeping Rangers was not the kind of start that the directors or supporters had been hoping for and Taylor paid the price for not hitting the ground running.

Peter Duffield, who had been a hot favourite to take control ahead of Taylor was still available and immediately took over the reigns and led the side 48 hours later, away to Carlton Town.

Defeat in the last minute against the Millers wasn’t the start Duffield wanted but seven consecutive victories propelled Duffield to hero status including a rare FA Trophy victory at Barton Rovers and all seemed well at Christchurch Meadow.

By his own admission, Duffield said that his inherited side had been playing above themselves without being convincing despite winning games, and cracks began to appear at Loughborough at the end of October when the Nailers hung on grimly for a 2-2 draw after going for a record equalling eight consecutive victories.

Seven of the previous eight games had been away from home and when Hucknall Town arrived at Christchurch Meadow, the Nailers were brought down to earth with a bang as they crumbled to a 5-1 defeat.

Order was restored with a win at Quorn but they lost the next four league games before another away success at Goole, however this was followed by another four game losing streak that saw the Nailers spiralling down the league table.

In recent weeks though the Nailers have turned things around having won three of their last five fixtures including a memorable victory at neighbours Ilkeston Town.

Recent signings Steve Warne and Mark Ward have considerably strengthened Duffield’s squad and with home games against Loughborough (Saturday 3.00pm), Leek and Quorn during February, hopefully the Nailers will be firmly established in the top half of the table come the end of the month.

The first team played a ‘behind closed doors’ friendly at Ollerton last Thursday evening and ran out 3-1 winners, while Scott Ellis and Jordan Turner turned out for the reserve side against Borrowash Victoria reserves last Saturday with Turner grabbing a hat trick in a 4-3 win.

After this Saturday’s home game against Loughborough Dynamo the Nailers will face Leek Town at Christchurch Meadow on Tuesday 7 February (7.30pm), while the reserve side travel to Radford reserves this weekend.