Barnstaple Town manager believes they can beat relegation
TOM BULLEY hopes to finally take charge of his first game for Barnstaple Town this weekend.
The new manager has endured a frustrating festive period with fixtures against Bridport, Ilfracombe Town, Larkhall Athletic and Street postponed.
He remains positive Barnstaple can kick-start their season and move away from trouble at the foot of the Toolstation Western League premier division. Barnstaple, who are seven points adrift of second-bottom Wells City, travel to Melksham Town on Saturday.
"This season is far from over yet," said Bulley. "We have still got more than half our games remaining.
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"It is not going to be easy but I strongly believe we are good enough to pull out of it.
"I have had a good response from the lads in training. There's a good vibe and a good team spirit.
"Every team in that league is going to be strong and we have got to rise to that and hopefully surprise a few teams along the way."
Bulley, 22, was appointed by chairman Warren Crossley more than two weeks ago and watched Barnstaple in their last game, an 8-0 defeat to Bishop Sutton.
He has a Uefa B coaching licence and has recently moved to Bideford after coaching in the USA.
"I said to Warren when I watched the game against Bishop Sutton, 'There's players there I can work with'," he said.
"I'm willing to give the local lads a chance. I've told the players I'm going to give them a couple of weeks to prove themselves. It's tough because I haven't seen them in a game situation.
"In the new year, it's going to be full steam ahead. There's a lot of work that needs to be done.
"I want to get the boys in training twice a week.
"I will be adding three, possibly four, players."
Town have signed Connor Nash, a prolific scorer for Barnstaple FC in the North Devon League. Last season, Nash, 19, hit 65 goals in intermediate two and this term he has scored 27 in 11 games in intermediate one.
Barnstaple have acted quickly to arrange a new date for the derby with Ilfracombe Town at Mill Road.
"Obviously, with the weather, it has been tough over the Christmas period," said Bulley.
"Everyone was looking forward to the Boxing Day derby. It's been arranged for January 15 now so hopefully we'll get a good turnout there. That's what the club needs."