Featherstone feeling confident of reviving the fortunes at Oakham United

Ryan Hunnings (left) and Joe Featherstone (right).
Ryan Hunnings (left) and Joe Featherstone (right).

Newly-appointed Oakham United boss Joe Featherstone is confident he can revive the fortunes of the United 
Counties League club.

Featherstone was named as the Division One club’s third manager of the season last week and took charge of his first league match in Saturday’s 2-0 away defeat at Bourne Town.

Despite Oakham suffering a 10th successive reversal which leaves them second-from-bottom of the table, Coventry-based Featherstone is upbeat about the remainder of his side’s campaign.

He said: “I’m well for up for the challenge. It’s a 100-mile round trip for me for home games and I wouldn’t have taken the job on if I didn’t think I could turn things around.

“The club has been through the ringer this season, but we have a good chairman and a good committee so we need to get our heads up and believe we can get something out of this season.

“I was reasonably happy on Saturday because it was a solid performance, but confidence is key in football and we are bereft of it at the moment.

“I like my sides to get at teams with the belief that we can outscore them, but I can’t see that happening at the moment.

“We need to stablise this year and then get a good pre-season in the lads in preparation for next season by improving their fitness.

“I don’t want us to just survive and be battling in the bottom six next season. I want us to push on and start challenging.”

Featherstone and assistant Ryan Hunnings have started to bolster the Oakham ranks with experienced centre-half Steve Slack making his debut on Saturday.

Slack has joined from league rivals Huntingdon Town with Matt Holland also returning to the club after making the same switch ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burton Park Wanderers.

Attacker Fabio Ramos has also joined the Oakham ranks from Division One rivals Pinchbeck United who visit Lonsdale Meadow on Wednesday night (7.45pm). .

Featherstone added: “There is a decent core to the squad and we don’t want to replace all of them, but it’s mine and Ryan’s job to improve the squad and Saturday’s result proved that.

“Considering we hadn’t had a training session before the game, I was very encouraged.

“It was an even first half. We defended well, but we didn’t look confident in the final third and that was the main difference between the two teams.

“We started to push them back, but didn’t get enough balls into the box and that’s something we need to start putting together.

“Defensively we look a good outfit, but my main concern is going forward.

“We’ll have a couple of training sessions this week and try and get some belief back in the players.

“The dressing room was dejected after Saturday, but there is enough there to work on.

“We want to bring some quality players in and that will make our existing players far more happy and confident because I want the boys to fight like never before.”