Defender Clint Hill was handed coaching duties for the Fleetwood away game on Wednesday afternoon as manager Keith Curle stayed true to his promise that he would help the centre back to gain more experience in that field as he continues to work towards his coaching badges.
The 39-year-old was there as assistant to Colin West for the reserve game and was given a baptism of fire as the hosts registered a convincing victory on the day.
“It was good for Clint to get the game under his belt in a coaching capacity,” Curle said. “I’m looking to extend his contract here, and part of that is to help with his progression into coaching.
“He’s 39 and he naturally has one eye on his future. It appears that he wants to stay in the game, either as a manager or a coach, so that was an opportunity for him to be involved with our development players.”
“You often find that players can finish playing football and they have these great ideas about how they want the game to be played,” he continued. “The most daunting thing then becomes that you have stand up in front of other players, some of them your peers, and you have to explain and illustrate what it is you want them to do.
“Things like this are a learning curve for him and part of what I told him we’d do in terms of helping him with his coaching. It isn’t just about having a session, it’s about making sure it has a start, middle and end.
“Within that you have to work out when you deliver your coaching points. Different people do things in different ways, but ultimately it comes down to working out how to best get your messages across.”
First and foremost, of course, the central defender is at the club for what he brings to the pitch with his contribution since joining the club midway through July widely acknowledged as playing a big part in the improvement in results.
“As a player, he’s still playing well,” Curle told us. “When he initially came into the building his partnership was with Tom Parkes, and that was developing really well.
“Gary [Liddle] wasn’t involved at that time and he wasn’t happy about that at all. He came to see me and, to be fair to him, he was very professional. He kept doing his work and he got an opportunity when Tom picked up a red card.
“That’s what this game is all about. Tom has now taken up that challenge and he’s working his socks off to make sure he can take his opportunity next time it comes.
“At the moment Gary and Clint are performing at a very good standard, but they don’t have very far to look to see that Tom is right behind them. He hasn’t come here to be a squad player either, and that’s a driving force for all three of them.”