Neil Ross believes he has settled into life as the Farsley Celtic manager and looks forward to seeing what his side can achieve in the National League North this season.
By Amos Murphy
Ross achieving goal with promotion to senior spot
After losing former manager Adam Lakeland to fellow National League North side Curzon Ashton in October, Neil Ross was handed the role of interim at Farsley Celtic, before being appointed as permanent boss in early November.
Picking up an impressive point against promotion-chasing Brackley Town in his final game as caretaker, Ross would go on to collect his maiden win against relegation candidates Bradford Park Avenue, before progressing to the Third Round of the FA Trophy with a victory over Stalybridge Celtic.
Having been promoted within the Farsley set-up after a successful stint as under-23s manager, Ross is well accustomed to the club and believes that has helped him to settle into the role:
“Since I arrived three years ago, my ambition has always been to step up into the first-team managers' role and now felt like the right time.
“It caught me by surprise if I’m honest. The work Adam (Lakeland) did was fantastic… it (the appointment) came a lot earlier than I imagined it to, but now feels like the perfect moment to take it on”.
Ross taking to life at first-team level
A youth player for Leeds United in the early 2000s, Ross would go on to play for 13 clubs across the Football League and non-league, before starting out his coaching career in 2013.
After choosing against rushing into a career in management, Ross believes his patient approach will serve him well as Celtic boss:
“I’ve worked really hard on coaching since retiring from football, so it’s something I always knew I’d go into.
However, having left academy football behind him, Ross is aware of the realities surrounding senior football and what is expected of him:
“When it’s academy football, results don’t really matter it’s down to the development of players.
“Obviously at first-team level it’s a results-based game and if they aren’t going the right way, it’s the manager who gets sacrificed”.
‘Starting from the back key to success', believes Ross
In his short space of time as first-team boss, Ross has already been quick to implement changes in the Farsley set-up, with his new side reaping the rewards:
“Conceding goals was a big thing and that’s something we’ve really worked on over the last few weeks.
“We’ve already brought a couple of players in, a few have left the club, but we’ve replaced good players with equally good players”.
With that Stalybridge victory also came Farsley’s first back to back clean sheets of the campaign, having previously managed just four shutouts in 14 matches all season.
“I tried to reiterate to the players it’s the togetherness that matters. Managers will come and go, but it’s the lads out on the pitch that have to come together to get results.
“Most of them have played in the (Football) League, so for me it wasn’t a case of trying to overhaul things straight away, it was just maintaining the togetherness in the group”.
Future bright for Ross and Farsley
There’s an understandable buzz around Farsley following the Ross appointment, but Celtic’s new boss has ensured his players keep their feet well and truly on the ground, for now at least:
“I’ve spoken to the players about the importance of winning games and that’s the most important thing for me.
“Where it takes us in the leagues and cups will look after itself. If we get a win, brilliant, but if not we work on stuff to make sure we compete in the next one”.
On the up in the league and with an FA Trophy tie at home to Southport to come, the future looks bright for Ross in his new role as Farsley boss.