WHEN Shane Killock returned to Park Avenue from his loan spell with fellow Vanarama National North outfit Boston United it brought another skipper into the side but club captain Nicky Wroe is not about to lose the armband.

Manager Mark Bower handed Wroe the role and he intends it to be for the long term despite the calibre of player in the current team.

Ryan Toulson was club captain under previous manager Alex Meechan but the former Halifax Town and Guiseley full back missed a lot of last season through injury.

He was offered a new deal this term as a player-coach and, although he has not featured in the side much this term, he is almost back to full fitness.

Bower said: “Wroey was skipper at the start of the season and I don’t see that changing despite the competition he has for the role.

“'Killer' is back from his long term injury and he’s captained sides before and might be in the mix if we have an injury or two. I’m just glad that we’ve got these strong characters in the side, players who organise and encourage, they’re leaders on the pitch.

“We’ve got a few – three in our back four with Killer, Gian-Luca (Havern) and Mark Ross. Gian-Luca was the Telford captain last year and Rossy was Stockport County captain so that’s a lot of quality and tough competitors.

“They were the type of player we were looking for when we assembled this squad because all of that experience goes a long way and it makes you a very, very strong unit. There might be a bit of a scrap for the club captaincy if it ever came up.”

Due to budget restraints, Bower is working with a squad low on numbers. Avenue’s wage bill is believed to be one of the six or seventh lowest in the division but they are currently sixth in the table.

That is to the credit of the players but also the boss, his assistant manager Danny Boshell and the coaches using their contacts to get players in who are not just strong characters but are also good footballers, capable of playing in more than one position.

Bower added: “It’s no secret that we’ve not got the biggest squad, but it’s tight-knit and there’s an exceptional spirit around the place.

“On match days and in training you can see just how close they are and how much belief they have, which comes from trust. They are also always pushing each other and demanding more from each other all the time and it’s that belief and spirit that has pushed us up the table and put us in a great position going into the second half of the season.”