Lee Howells: It will take time to rebuild Bath City
Lee Howells says the future at Bath City is “rosy” despite a dismal run which has seen them record just one win in their last nine matches.
That victory came against a team three steps down in the non-league pyramid and an FA Cup exit to lower-league Gosport Borough last week prompted Adie Britton to step down as manager, with Howells, pictured, taking charge as first-team coach.
Britton will take up a new position as director of football development but will remain involved on matchdays.
Although he is optimistic of good times ahead in the long term at City and an improvement in form this season, Howells has warned that major steps forward may not happen overnight.
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“The future of this club as far as I can see is rosy,” said Howells, whose first game at the helm ended in a 3-2 defeat to Hayes & Yeading United on Saturday. “We just want to keep things ticking over and get a team building over the next couple of seasons.
“It’s a time thing. We’ll get there but we need a bit of time to build a young team and, with a bit of experience as well, we’ll be okay.
“Adie will be around, don’t worry about that. He’s not going to be sat upstairs – he’s going to be part of the changing room.
“I’ll just jump in his shoes now and take a bit more of the heat. Nothing’s going to change massively but Adie needs to go round now and look at a few more players with potential for the future.”
Britton has been tasked with spotting talent and keeping an eye on potential signings for City but Howells believes the squad he already has at his disposal is capable of a lot more than they have shown this season, particularly if they can stay injury-free.
Josh Low returned from injury off the bench in Saturday’s defeat, which saw loan signing Sean Canham score for the second successive match.
Howells called on everyone at the club to “stick together” as City look to move away from their perilous 20th position in Blue Square Bet South.
“It’s just a case of getting in there and getting on with it,” he said. “I’ve been here five seasons and there have been some good times but as a football club there are going to be a few ups and downs. As long as we all stick together we should be fine.
“It’s been a bitty start to the season with a lot of injuries to good and influential players. There are some young kids coming through but we’ve been a bit inconsistent.
“It’s been a bit like that for the last six or seven weeks but we’ve had a good look at the league and we still think that if we can get the majority of the boys on the field we should get some results.
“A few things will change but we’re happy squad-wise, so we just need to get them together and have a right good go.”
A club statement on Friday confirmed the changes and added that club captain Jim Rollo will assist with coaching duties.
However, he was quick to point out that he has not been made assistant manager and is keen to continue his playing career.
With John Freegard remaining in his position as coach, and players Charlie Griffin and Marc Canham also qualified, Rollo does not expect his new role to impinge on his on-the-field ambitions.
“I’ve still got a bit of fitness in the legs, I’ve hopefully got another couple of years playing and that’s what I want to do,” said the 36-year-old.
“It was a late decision on Friday so nothing’s changed to me at the moment, I’m still a player.
“People read the statement as me being Arch’s assistant, which is not the case. I’ll be around the club, I’ve been here a long time and I’ve hopefully got a bit of respect from the dressing room.
“It will be something I’ll be looking to do eventually when I finish playing, but if I’m called on then I’ll take a session. Charlie’s a coach and so is Marc as well.
“At the moment, it’s just my normal duties in the warm-up and as a player.”
City, who dropped into the division’s bottom three on Saturday, visit Tonbridge Angels on Saturday (3pm).