Mark Shaw won’t have any weak links in his Worksop Town team, according to a player who knows him very well.
Conor Higginson, a striker who can play in midfield, has signed for Shaw for the third time in his career, and is looking forward to making Sandy Lane his home next season.
Giving an insight into the kind of demands the Worksop squad can expect from their boss, Higginson told the Guardian: “There’s not going to be any weak links in our team, Mark won’t have it.”
“It’s so important for the upcoming season that we’re fit and strong, you have to be in this league, players can’t get away with going out on a Friday night.”
The 21-year-old insists it was an easy decision to follow Shaw to his new club, from Shirebrook where he ended the season.
“Mark is a top man, I’ve got a great relationship with him, and Pete Shuttleworth his assistant.”
“Mark is a good man manager, if you need an arm round your shoulder, and he likes to get the ball down and play good football.”
“He believes in young lads and that stands me in good stead, so it was a very brief conversation once he said he wanted to take me with him.”
“I’ve been with him at two clubs before, and I sort of knew where I’d be playing my football next season.”
Higginson, who began his career at Mansfield Town, got a taste of life in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League at the start of last season, and he’s hungry for more.
“I want to play football at this level again.”
“I signed for Grantham at the start of the season, but I was working with different managers, with a totally different view on how to play the game from Mark, it didn’t really suit me.”
“I was in and out of the team, but I did really enjoy it there, the changing room and the supporters were class.”
“I played okay, scored a handful of goals in 15 or 16 games, I didn’t start that many but I found the level very competitive.”
It was Tigers boss Shaw who moved Higginson towards a new position on the pitch, having begun his career as a forward.
The Ollerton-born footballer explained: “Mark has converted me into this midfield role, playing in an advanced position, pushing forward and linking with the strikers.”
“I can play up front, or on the left or right, I’ve got a turn of pace and an eye for goal – but I would play centre-half if they said I was playing every week.”
Higginson is coming into a squad that already has two experienced and proven goalscorers, Leon Mettam and Tom Denton.
But he told the Guardian he sees that as a positive.
“I’m always looking to learn, being a young lad I watch players like that.”
“I watched Worksop play Fylde and Denton was quality, he’s great at what he does, and Mettam is obviously a great striker, I can see myself linking up with those two.”
Before he joins his new team-mates in pre-season, Higginson is already working on his conditioning, with help from assistant manager Shuttleworth.
He said: “I always keep in shape, and Pete is a triathlete so he’s always sorting me out with different programmes to do.”
“I train three or four times a week in the gym to try to keep in shape, I’m always out running.”
“I think you’ve got to, it’s important because in this league you’ll be playing against players who are very fit and physically strong.”
Higginson made his first team debut for Mansfield Town in April 2009 as a 17-year-old, and has featured at Glapwell, Sheffield FC, Grantham Town and Rainworth Miners Welfare in his career thus far.