As he looks to drag Hednesford Town away from the Vanarama National League North relegation zone, manager Frank Sinclair can call upon experiences of working under some of the Premier League’s biggest names.
During a career that has spanned twenty five years, Sinclair played for the likes of Chelsea and Leicester City, as well as representing Jamaica at the World Cup in France in 1998.
It is probably at Chelsea where he had the greatest success, winning the FA Cup and League Cup, playing under the management of Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli.
After eight years at Stamford Bridge, Martin O’Neill took Sinclair to Leicester City, helping him win another League Cup as the Foxes beat Tranmere Rovers at Wembley in 2000.
Now, just over a month into his tenure at Hednesford, Sinclair is drawing upon his experiences working under those coaches to help the Pitmen in their relegation battle.
He said “I have been fortunate enough to work with some fantastic coaches in my career. People like Martin O’Neill, Ruud Gullit, Gianluca Vialli, Glenn Hoddle and even people like Steve Cotterill at Burnley.
What I have tried to do is take the bits that I enjoyed most about working under them and to help me mould that with my own style of coaching. Having those sort of experiences to learn from will always help you in any situation and I certainly intend to use them in the situation we find ourselves in now”
It is early days for Sinclair’s Hednesford side but progress is starting to be made.
Last Tuesday’s 3-1 win over AFC Telford United took the Pitmen out of the National League North’s relegation zone and the forty four year old admitted that he needed to change some key aspects of life at the club in order to take them forward.
“It’s good so far and when I came in there was a lot of work to do. The form of the team needed improving, the mentality of the players needed changing and there were bits and pieces around the football club that I felt needed to be a bit more professional.
Steve Price and Terry McMahon have bought into what I want to do. I have had the chance to bring in players to strengthen the squad and change things with my experience of the league.
I knew players who could benefit the squad and improve things and we are slowly getting to where we want to be. It isn’t easy, in this league anyone can beat anyone so we just need to get the wins to get ourselves further up the league”
Sincair hasn’t taken long to freshen up his squad since arriving at Keys Park.
West Bromwich Albion youngster Jack Fitzwater arrived on loan, along with Oldham Athletic defender Jack Truelove.
His latest move was to bring former Pitmen striker Danny Glover back to the club after he left AFC Telford United last week.
And Sinclair revealed the method behind his recruitment so far.
“First and foremost you can offer them football. When players are available it tends to be because either they are out of favour at their current club and because they need to be given experience.
We took Jack Fitzwater from West Brom, Jack Truelove from Oldham, the clubs felt they needed first team experience before they go back to be assessed.
As well as that there are players I have worked with in the past and I was fortunate to inherit a fairly strong group of players too. The squad only needed tweaking and having players like Sean Williams and Paul Ellis, they are top players and that helps in the long run”
As well as bringing in new faces, Sinclair received a big boost this week with the news that Sean Williams had committed to the club until the end of the season.
Sinclair was delighted to keep the midfielder and hailed the former Colwyn Bay man as “probably the most in-form player we have”
“He is a very important part of this team at the moment. He has probably been the most in-form player we have since I took over.
Before I got there it had been said that he was in terrific form anyway.
I knew him from Colwyn Bay and I know what he can offer. There was interest in him from another club, so I made it my main goal to get him on a deal and to keep, what I think, is a big player who has bought into what this football club is about”
So slow and steady steps have been taken so far.
New players have come in, existing players have committed to the cause and the movement out of the relegation zone is an all too rare bright spot in a largely underwhelming season so far at Keys Park.
However Sinclair is now looking up the table and has ambitions of taking the club back into the top flight of the non-league pyramid, some fifteen years after their last season at that level.
“They have been in the Conference and experienced that side of it. The overall structure of the club is set for that level without a shadow of a doubt but it is all about what happens on the pitch.
It’s all about recruiting the right players to make a challenge to get promoted but all of the necessary foundations are in place at the club.
We are working hard to get things right for next season and get the fundamental things in place to take us to where I want us to go and that is into the National League”
Interview: Mark Carruthers