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News Archive > Sport > Coach talks up Town’s future

Coach talks up Town’s future

By Tom Howe 17th February 2021

Coach talks up Town’s future
Former Launceston manager and now Bodmin Town coach Gary Jeffery, (left), pictured while working with England Colleges’ under-17 team

Coach Gary Jeffery says the ‘future looks bright’ for Bodmin Town, with the club having worked hard to rediscover and maintain their prolific winning formula, writes Tom Howe.

Jeffery joined Bodmin’s management team last summer after a playing career at Launceston that was cut short by injury. He was soon back involved in a coaching capacity with the Clarets, an involvement which spanned almost two decades.

Starting on a Saturday morning coaching children, Jeffery went on to lead the club’s women and Duchy League sides before assisting with their second-team in the East Cornwall set-up. Ultimately, Jeffery was recommended for the role of first-team boss having worked with the outgoing Leigh Cooper, who left in 2014.

On standing down from the top job at Bodmin’s South West Peninsula League rivals, Jeffery took some time to decide on his next step before agreeing to extend his coaching career with a move to Priory Park, something he admits gives him the chance to do something he loves, while keeping clear of the ‘politics’ a manager has to deal with.

“I took a year and a bit out and didn’t really know what to do,” said Jeffery, a former development coach at Duchy College who was selected to work for England Colleges at under-17 level, a role which took him around the world. “I decided to go back [into football] and the responsibility I have got now is the responsibility that I want. Doing all the chasing around, that is Darren Gilbert’s job and that leaves me to what I love.

“It has worked out quite nicely. Me, Alan [Carey] and Gilbs all get on behind the scenes and sing from the same hymn sheet. I want to give players what I know, my help and my support. As a manager you are always a bit on edge. I found myself getting more and more stressed out about Saturday football and I wasn’t enjoying it. I have a clean slate at a new club and that fresh start was exactly what I needed. They let me do all the coaching and ask my thoughts on players but all the politics are up to Gilby. [My job during lockdown] is about trying to keep people fit, motivated and engaged. These are difficult times but we have a lot of trust and faith in [the players]. I have been open with the boys. What can we do? We can’t go round and knock on their door to see what they are doing.

“You have got to put some kind of faith in them and that is really important. At the end of the day, they will get found out. You will know at kick-off who has been working out and who hasn’t. You can’t hide or lie. They have been good though and have been posting things on our group chat. Some of the [running] times they are coming back with are very impressive. They are pushing themselves to the limit so, hopefully, when we are allowed to do so, we will be able to get back to it.”

Jeffery revealed a fear that the grassroots game would be rushed back and force another period of lockdown, saying it would be better, in his opinion, if clubs were provided with an extended-pre season before returning fresh for 2021-22.

Admitting the league had a ‘hard decision to make’, he suggested further time away from competitive action would allow people the opportunity to be vaccinated and build themselves into prime condition to go again as normal next season.

Looking to the current campaign, Jeffery continued: “Gilby made a lot of signings to strengthen from the previous year and we have settled into a bit of a groove. Everyone knows what they are meant to be doing. It was a pity that we went into lockdown because we were on a decent run. The injuries we had were ridiculous. We had injuries on all fronts right across the whole team and it was difficult. We went down to Mousehole with a bare XI and Gilby on the bench. It has just been a very strange and odd year.

“In the last few games we looked a different kettle of fish altogether because of the power we had in all three areas of the pitch. The power we had up front and the quality we had in other departments, we have got the structure there now to be a really, really good team. We have really strong management and are strong on the physio side as well.

“The future looks bright. It is just unfortunate because pre-season was a bit of a stop-start. We were training in groups of five with a coach then, all of a sudden, we had 11 injuries. Putting a new team together takes time. Things don’t happen overnight. As I said, we lost a few players and tweaked a few things. We will openly admit that we looked at the formation and changed it here and there. For the last eight or nine games, we looked really good and strong.”

SWP secretary, Phil Hiscox, released an update on fixtures earlier this week, saying the league had postponed fixtures scheduled from March 13 to March 17. Fixtures remain listed from March 20 but, as Hiscox was quick to point out, remain provisional.

By Tom Howe 17th February 2021

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