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Thursday, May 14, 2020

From The Archives : Elmes Looks Forward

A look back to May 2000 and Hereford United striker Rob Elmes looks forward. He's hoping to help the Bulls back to the Football League.

'Rather than looking back on his best ever season as a striker, Rob Elmes is looking forward. The simple goal for the Hereford United forward is helping the club secure a return to the Football League.

Hitting the Bulls' eye has made it a season to remember for Elmes, who finished the club's joint top scorer with Paul Fewings, netting 15 goals all told.

Not bad for a player in his first season in the Conference - at the age of 29 - and who 18 months ago was only pushed up-front to ease an injury crisis.

But Sutton-based Elmes, typically for a school teacher, is the first to admit he is still learning.

'I don't think I was seen as a goalscorer as such when I signed for Hereford,' said Elmes, who joined Hereford last summer from Halesowen Town. 'I was seen more as a target-man and a nuisance to defenders.

'The goals really have been a bonus and to finish with my highest tally of goal at any level has been great.

'But next season I feel I can go on and do better. Though I'm 30, I'm still learning. I had not played in this position until 18 months ago at Halesowen and it's a question of the more you play the better you get.'

Elmes has just pledged his future to the Bulls with a new two-year contract, and it's a sign of how highly he is regarded by manager Graham Turner that he is only one of two part-timers in the professional Hereford ranks.

But the respect is mutual. After Turner revived a club heading into oblivion, Elmes believes Hereford are now ready to sustain a Conference title challenge.

'I was more than happy to sign a new deal,' he said. 'I don't think we are that far away from being a top-three side.

'Hereford is an excellent club, well run and very professional under Mr Turner. Everything is geared up to success and to get back into the Football League.'

Hereford proved they should fear nobody after their FA Cup giant-killing exploits, plus a mid-season unbeaten run which lifted to third in the table at one point.

'I wouldn't want to swap the FA Cup for anything,' said Elmes, whose match-winner against Hartlepool earned a never-to-be-forgotten third round tie with Premiership Leicester City.

'It gave us a lot of confidence and we took that into the league form. After the Leicester replay, we went unbeaten for 13 games. We know we can get results against anybody and now we want to prove that in the Conference next season.'