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Dan Connor backs Dan Hanford for success at Hereford United
DAN Connor says goalkeeper Dan Hanford was unlucky not to have been given a first-team opportunity at United last season.
And the Irishman said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the former Rochdale and Swansea City rookie starting the new campaign with the number one jersey.
Connor has been appointed United’s part-time goalkeeping coach and will be working with Hanford and new apprentice stopper Kyle Walker.
“Dan Hanford played at Hereford for the Glenn Hoddle academy and he really should have got a game last year because the quality is there,”
“Potentially, he can better than both Adam Bartlett and Dave Cornell.
“He’s only 21 years old but has a lot of the main attributes to be a top goalkeeper. Dan can kick the ball miles and he’s very agile. I would not be surprised to see him start the 2012-13 season.
“His agility is better than Adam Bartlett’s and it’s as good — if not better — than Dave Cornell’s.
“Hereford have a strong tradition of good goalkeepers and I think a little bit of patience is needed by the fans.
“There’s also Kyle Walker from Plymouth. He’s only 16 and he’s an apprentice with us for next season.
“He’s our first apprentice goalkeeper and looking at all the others, he had that extra bit as a schoolboy.”
Connor has also landed the role of youth team assistantboss at United.
“We have got a clear job description for the goalkeeper’s role which is part-time and I will be assisting as the youth team coach,” said Connor.
The Irishman said that Bartlett, who has gone to Gateshead, felt a move away from Edgar Street would benefit his career.
“Adam had some change in his personal circumstances but I think he also felt he’d reached the end of the line for Hereford,” said Connor.
“For his family and for his own career, Adam felt it was the right thing to have a fresh challenge away from Hereford.
“He wasn’t demanding a move and he was prepared to stay at Hereford, but when the Gateshead chance came up, he felt it was a fresh start.
“Adam had it in the back of his mind that people were waiting for him to make a mistake.
“He felt that the Meadow End was sucking him in. The mental side of the game is something that all goalkeepers need to work on.”
Connor has urged the fans to remain patient with United’s young goalkeeper.
“I did quite a bit of work with Dan last year,” he said. “We will talking to them both quite a bit and all the games will be filmed and then analysed.
“We will be encouraging them to extend and test out their comfort zones.
“I am delighted to have got such a big role at the club because there’s not many people my age who are doing it,”
said Connor. “I had a lot of experience as a goalkeeper and I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs which will be good to use and pass on.”