Denton is a Tiger - former Sheffield Wednesday coach joins Worksop

Worksop Town head coach Craig Denton
Worksop Town head coach Craig Denton

Worksop Town have employed a former Sheffield Wednesday coach to oversee player development at Sandy Lane.

Craig Denton spent years at Hillsborough, working in the academy, and actually helped train a number of current Tigers players.

The 29-year-old is taking his first job in non league football, and told the Guardian he’s impressed with what he’s seen of Mark Shaw’s squad so far.

Explaining what he’s been brought in to do the Sheffield based sports coach said: “Mark, who I’ve known for quite a long time, offered me the opportunity to be head coach and get involved, and I took it off his hands and got stuck in.

“The role for me is overseeing player development, helping Mark and his assistant Chris with the training programme, getting involved on matchdays, with the warm-up.”

The club’s new head coach has had a chance to familiarise himself with the playing staff in pre-season training, and likes what he sees.

“The squad is really impressive, I’ve been in two weeks now and they’ve done a lot of fitness work.

“We’ve got a really good group here, they’re extremely fit and quite knowledgeable.

“I think they will be contenders this season to win the league.”

They’re not all new to Denton, however.

“There’s a couple of players who I’ve seen through the development system at Wednesday, like Mitch Husbands, Conor Smythe, James Cottingham.

“It’s nice to work with them again and see they’ve developed, they’re becoming fully grown men, competing in a good, challenging league.”

Worksop weren’t the only club to try and get Denton on board, but Worksop’s passing football chimes with his own preferences on how to play the game.

“I did get a couple of offers from non league clubs, but Mark’s footballing philosophy, the club’s style of play, being very expressive with the ball, I’m really keen on that, I try to coach that myself.”

And now that Denton has bedded in with the club, he and the coaching staff are hard at work preparing the players for another run at the NCEL Premier title.

Giving an insight into training, Denton said: “Myself, Mark and Chris try and get the players as a group, training as a unit, we try to get the ball involved as much as we can.

“There has been some extreme fitness work, but we get the ball involved because it feels a bit more real for the players.

“Even just a fitness drill, if they have the ball at their feet, it feels better.

“We make it really competitive, with the fitness programme we’ve had two or three groups, trying to beat each other.”