GARY Norton hopes his Gresley side build on their first league win this year when they host basement side Hucknall Town tomorrow.
The Moatmen grabbed their first win in nine Evo-Stik NPL First Division South matches with a 2-0 victory at struggling Romulus last week.
And they have a chance to get back-to-back wins tomorrow after their winless streak stretching back to Boxing Day ended with goals from Royce Turville and Marc Goodfellow.
“Relief is one word – it’s been a while,” Norton told Mailsport. “The relief on the faces of the players as they sat in the dressing room was palpable, it was really worth seeing.
“We started very, very well and played the best we have in a long time.
“Royce scored at the end of the first half and then Marc got a cracker in the second.
“Goody deserved his goal, too.
“I think he intended to cross it and hit the ball into a good area.
“It seemed to have a bit of spin on it and went almost like a cricket ball and bounced into the goal when it looked like heading wide.”
Norton was delighted with Turville’s overall contribution – and thinks his hard-working frontman has been nothing short of sensational since he returned from a nasty knee injury last month.
“Royce since he’s been back has been phenomenal,” said the Gresley boss. “You could see all the reasons we wanted him back on Saturday.
“Even when he doesn’t score, his work rate is brilliant and he gives 100 per cent every time he goes out there.
“He’s one of the most honest, hard-working players I’ve had in my time as a manager.”
Defender Ryan Walker, who has had to patient at times for Gresley after signing from Thurnby Nirvana, has also impressed Norton in a new right-back role.
“Ryan was a big plus for us on Saturday,” said the Moat chief. “He first moved out to right-back in the 2-1 defeat to King’s Lynn and looked good out there.
“He’s played full-back before, but it was a long, long time ago.
“We always had it mind to look at him there.
“Granted, he’s going to come up against more difficult opponents, but you can only play what’s in front of you.
“He was my man of the match on Saturday.
“Both him and Jordi (Gough) got forward more and got there more quickly.
“They both did very well and looked assured.”
There was a debut last week for new signing Kristian Cox and Norton is hoping the wide-man can provide the ammunition for the likes of Turville, Richard Hanslow and Phil Massingham, who returns from a ban tomorrow.
“We’ve got him on loan after we lost Louis Hamilton,” said Norton. “We tried to sign him the week before but had problems with his registration.
“He’s from Hyde and is in effect on loan to us as he’s on dual forms.
“He’s a small, tricky, pacy winger or forward player.
“When Louis decided not to remain with us we had a look at him and decided to make a move.
“It’s early days, but his first 15 minutes on Saturday showed a little bit.”
Gareth Langford has also returned to the Moat Ground after a move to Mickleover Sports went sour.
He could feature more regularly now that James Jepson has left Gresley for King’s Lynn, starting with today’s home clash with Hucknall, kick-off 3pm.
“Gareth’s back after his move to Mickleover didn’t work out,” said Norton. “With James gone he might get more of a chance – but Mickey Lyons, Dean Rathbone and even Jamie Barrett are all competing for a place in there.
“A lot of people expected us to get three points easily.
“But we were low on confidence ourselves going into the three games.
“We have to be really respectful of Hucknall – they’ve got pride and will be working as hard as they can.
“They’re still a capable outfit.
“With our form and confidence still low we need to be careful and we’re still nervous at home.
“We need to get into the right frame of mind.”
GRESLEY FROM: Hateley, Walker, Nottingham, Strzyz-ewski, Gough, Lyons, Barrett, Rathbone, Goodfellow, Nadat, Turville, Roome, Langford, Cox, Minshull, Massingham, Hanslow, Woodward.