O’Neill is confident Steelmen are moving on up

Liam O'Neill
Liam O'Neill

Liam O’Neill believes there are “signs of recovery” for Corby Town in their bid to beat the drop in the Vanarama National League North.

The Steelmen boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation with a much-needed 2-0 home win over Tamworth last weekend as they ended their miserable run of form at Steel Park.

The victory lifted Corby, who head to Alfreton Town on Saturday, off the foot of the table and out of the relegation zone, although they dropped back to third from bottom after Lowestoft Town beat AFC Fylde 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Tommy Wright added O’Neill to his coaching staff on New Year’s Eve with assistant-manager David Clarke taking a break from the game after he was diagnosed with leukaemia last year.

O’Neill’s four-year stint as assistant-manager at Leamington, who were relegated from National League North last season, was ended in September.

And he believes his experience of this division was one of the reasons why Wright brought him in.

When asked whether he had seen enough to suggest Corby could avoid the drop, O’Neill said: “Absolutely.

“I have pretty much done the cycle like Tommy has. We won the league at Leamington and we had a good, solid mid-table finish in the first year but didn’t build on it.

“There were things that I learned in a difficult season last year at Leamington and I think Tommy has brought me in for that little bit of experience as well as having a different voice.

“There are good signs here and I am just glad the run didn’t go on and on because you run out of games eventually.

“I said to the players that as soon as your games played overtake the points you have got you are in big trouble.

“I can see the shoots of improvement but we can’t get carried away because with Leamington last year we were 13 points clear of the relegation zone with 10 games to go. Every single point in this league is crucial.

“There are signs of recovery but we have to build on it now.”

O’Neill, meanwhile, admitted the chance to work alongside Wright was a “no brainer” when the call came.

“There were a couple of things in the league below this that I had an opportunity to go into,” he added.

“But as soon as Tommy phoned me just before the end of last year it was a no brainer.

“We have done some coaching badges together and known each other a few years. We had always said that if the opportunity arose, it would be nice to work together.

“This is a good club. They have got the foundations to become bigger so we have got to stay in a big league.”