Michael Nelson praises 'effort, drive and determination' of Blyth Spartans captain Simon Heslop
Michael Nelson has praised the “effort, drive and determination” of Blyth Spartans captain Simon Heslop as his side prepare to take on National League North play-off contenders Brackley Town.
Spartans make the long trip to Northamptonshire looking to claim a first point in five games after they suffered consecutive defeats against Hereford, York City, Kettering Town and Boston United.
Former FA Trophy winner Heslop has featured in all four of those games and put in a hardworking and disciplined display in the midweek defeat against Boston.
He will lead Spartans out once again when they travel to St James Park this weekend and Nelson praised the professional attitude that his skipper brings to the squad.
“You have to look at what he has done in the last week for this club,” explained the Spartans boss.
“He has played three games in six days at his age and after suffering some awful injuries during his career.
“He probably looked stronger against Boston than he did in the previous two games and that probably says a lot about his effort, drive and determination.
“People have maybe given him a bit of a hard time, I’ve not seen it, but I have been told about it.
“If there are people doing that, they need to watch tonight’s game to see just what he does, the effort and organisation that he brings to the side.
“I wanted to take him off in midweek, but he is wise enough and clever enough to look after his body and ensure that he is ready to go again on Saturday.”
Nelson – who will not resume his playing duties at Brackley after limping out of the Boston game with an ankle injury - has received a much-needed boost to his defensive ranks after on-loan Hartlepool United centre-back Aaron Cunningham returned to contention.
Former Gateshead midfielder Liam Agnew is also expected to be fit to take his place in the squad as Spartans injury worries show small signs of improving.
However, forwards Paul Blackett and Connor Thomson remain on the sidelines as they continue their recovery from the injuries they suffered in the recent defeat against York City.