DARREN KELLY: Delighted to be back and hungry to get stuck in

I have to say, I’m delighted to be back after my holiday and I’ve never been hungrier to get my hands dirty and get stuck into a job.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 10:15 am
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 10:16 am
Darren Kelly's column

When I took the job on it was at the back of my mind as a nagging doubt, and I felt guilty at times while I was away, even though it was a pre-booked holiday of a lifetime and the club knew about it from the start.

A few things have changed while I was away, with Steve Roberts leaving to take up the manager’s role at Pickering Town and Gateshead recalling Connor Thomson.

Steve called me to speak to me about the role and he went with my full blessing, he wants to be a manager and this is a good, albeit challenging opportunity for him and I wish him all the best.

I never forget when people are good with me, and Steve was fantastic when I first came to the club.

Losing Connor is a big blow as he was a breath of fresh air, but Gateshead are well within their rights to call him back and they have injury problems so it makes sense for them to do so.

I am hopeful we can revisit Connor’s situation in a few weeks time as I would love to get him back into the club.

I’ve been pleased to see Ryan Watson weigh in with a couple of superb goals while I was away.

He’s got a hell of a right foot on him and I told him I wanted him to get forward and shoot more - so to see that coming to fruition is great.

I have to say, the penalty that South Shields were awarded in the 2-1 defeat was hard to watch.

There’s no way that was a penalty and maybe the ref was led slightly by the crowd.

Looking ahead now we have a lot of work to do, both on and off the pitch, if we want to improve things.

I am working hard behind the scenes to make sure we operate in as professional a manner as possible.

Just because I was in South Africa doesn’t mean I wasn’t on the phone contacting players, coaches and managers.

We’re looking to strengthen the squad in the coming weeks and I will be working hard to make that come to fruition.

There are players carrying knocks and obviously Connor going back to Gateshead leaves a gap to try and plug.

We welcome Matlock Town and former Scarborough manager Steve Kittrick this week for what will be a tough proposition.

We’re hoping Chris Dawson will be able to retyrn to action after being ill last weekend.