HOLKER Old Boys look to extend their four-match unbeaten run at Eccleshall tomorrow and for new manager Guy Heffernan, confidence has been the key to the young side’s improved form.

“After getting our first win the confidence has rolled on from there,” said former Barrow AFC defender Heffernan.

“We were unlucky in that we played our first few games against some top teams who are fancied for the league.

“To start the season average age of our squad was around 20, so that first win gave the young lads a lot of self-belief.”

Holker started the campaign poorly, losing five of their first six games, before a victory at home to Carlisle City in the league sparked a run of three wins from three.

A late strike from Nathan McHugh rescued a 2-2 draw at Chadderton last Saturday, and The Stags are now unbeaten in four games in league and cup.

Tomorrow presents an arduous journey to Staffordshire, and Heffernan emphasised the importance of the fixture. Eccleshall sit just three places behind Holker in the Hallmark Security League First Division.

“It’s a massive game. In the last four or five we’ve played and won against teams that are around us, and we need to continue to beat the teams that are near us in the table,” he said.

“Eccleshall is our longest away day, and provides a chance for some team bonding. It can be a very good day if we win, but a long day if we lose.”

New signing Tom Heywood was praised for his fine defensive performances, with Heffernan describing him as a “rock at the back” since joining the club in September. Heywood will be partnered in central defence by club captain Phil Coombe, who makes a welcome return to the squad.

After a long playing career with Barrow AFC and Holker, Heffernan has embraced the new challenge offered by a role on the touchline and is optimistic about the side’s future.

“I’ve really enjoyed coming in as manager, and hope we can continue our run of good results,” said Heffernan. “Our aim this season is top ten, and as our young team develops aim for the top five next season. It’s been a good start to my time as manager here.”