Tasked with the taxing mission of reviving a struggling team, Davis Haule is not one for shirking a challenge.
Taking the reins from Daniel Gordon, who stepped down as Aylesbury FC manager earlier this month, it’s left to Haule to pick up the pieces and look to get the under-performing Moles back on track.
Following successive promotion challenges under Steve Bateman over the past twos easons, the current campaign has proved a far tougher one for the club, who currently find themselves languishing third from bottom and just two points above relegation.
But the early signs under Haule, who took charge three weeks ago, have been promising, despite Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Bedford Town when goals from Alex O’Brien and Frankie Baigent were not enough to prevent a fifth defeat in the last eight games, with the result leaving Aylesbury teetering on the edge.
“It’s not been too bad so far,” said the 40-year-old who started the season playing for Chalfont St Peter. “I knew a few of the players when I came in but I didn’t know the majority and it was enlightening in terms of their league position compared to the players they’ve got because they’ve got some good players here.
“When I came in, I feared it might be a situation where I had to revamp the whole team.
“I’m not sure whether their league position is morale-based or whether they need a bit more experience in and around the club – and that’s what I’ve tried to do.
“I’ve been quite surprised by the level of the players which is really good and has impressed me, and I’ve brought in four or five old faces from around the non-league scene who are going to give the young players that bit of experience which you need. When you’re in that position in the league, you need a few older heads to see you through.”
A veteran of 11 non-league clubs, including Hemel Hempstead Town and Hendon, Haule has seen it all during his 18-year playing career.
Now, though, the focus is on management, even if he still remains keen to get the boots on once in a while.
He added: “I’ve always had it in the back of my head for the last couple of years – I’ve retired three times in the last three years!
“I was actually going to manage with Danny initially but I wasn’t happy with a couple of things at that time and I was still playing at Chalfont.
“But it was always in the back of my head. I was thinking about it for two or three weeks and my mindset changed and I really got a buzz for it.
“Even though I was still playing, I was thinking ‘what if? what would have happened if I had taken the role?’ and then when it was offered to me again, it was the second time this season so I had to take it!
“I thought ‘why not?’ – it’s one of the clubs which I know well and I get on really well with the fans there. It feels like home and I feel comfortable so if it was going to be any place it was going to be Aylesbury FC.”