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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Celtic boss faces tough start to job at Penrith

FORMER Cleator Moor Celtic boss Matt Henney has taken charge of Northern League Penrith – and he could not face a tougher start to his new career.

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Making moves: Former Cleator Moor Celtic manager Matt Henney who is now in charge at Penrith

He opened with a clash against Darlington last night (Wednesday), who are 18 points clear at the top, and on Saturday Penrith face second-placed Spennymoor, who have seven games in hand over the leaders.

“It’s a baptism of fire,” said the ex-Workington Reds midfielder, whose prime task this season is to preserve Penrith’s Division One status.

“The objectives are to stay up and I would like to think we can do that, and progress in the County Cup. We are fourth-bottom and three go down, so we are teetering around there.”

Henney has watched Penrith in action a few times of late so the players will not be entirely new to him as they embark on two of their toughest tests of the season within four days.

“They look like an honest bunch of players who will try their best,” he added. “There is half a season to get in and we will be playing two games a week until the end of April. It will be busy. I hope to put my stamp on it.”

Henney, who also starred for Gretna and Barrow, thanked the players of his old club for helping him progress.

“Credit to Cleator Moor Celtic’s footballers, who got me this opportunity to better myself,” he said. “The lads did great.”

While Penrith head Billingham, who lie in the third relegation place, by only four points, they have five games in hand.

Henney steps in for Brian Williams, who took charge of the club for a fourth time last summer aged 65 and is best remembered for leading led Penrith to the most famous win in their history – the 1981 FA Cup first round victory over Chester, who were then in the old Third Division

“It has always been my intention to serve the best interests of Penrith Football Club and can only hope the decision to stand down is in the club’s interest,” said Williams, who is fully behind Henney’s appointment.

“No one knows better than me the tough job he has taken on and he can be assured of my full support. Can I ask that everybody who has Penrith Football Club’s interest to do the same – that is players, committee, junior coaches and our supporters. When any new manager joins a club this brings a new start for the players. I believe Matt will introduce one or two new faces, but it is my opinion he inherits a squad of players who I have been proud to work alongside and hopefully with Matt’s influence can go on to represent the club for some time.”

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