PRESTWICH Heys have already started planning for next season after recruiting experienced player Chris Baguley to the coaching set-up.

Baguley will support assistant manager Ian Hutchinson and boss Jon Lyons as Heys bid to build on a promising first season back in the Hallmark Security League – formerly the North West Counties League.

Heys finished off their campaign with a 2-1 defeat at home to Whitchurch Alport, who made the play-offs.

Lyons' men had a decent chance of finishing in the top six before injuries and a fixture pile-up curtailed their chances.

After ending with five defeats from their last six matches the Heys manager conceded they needed to up the ante next season.

"With the extra demands and commitment playing in the Counties brings and the desire to always be looking to improve things on and off the pitch, Hutchy and I decided we needed to bring someone else in.

"Chris has his UEFA B licence and will bring new ideas to training and match days."

Baguley linked up with Heys at the turn of the year after a successful spell at Ashton United.

The former Oldham Athletic, FC United and Salford City player scored seven goals in 13 appearances for Heys and earned five man of the match awards.

Lyons added: "Chris will draw on the experience and contacts he has gained playing at professional level and the top levels of non-league.

"We're both looking forward to working with him and hopefully helping us go on to the next step."

Baguley is also excited by the challenge and hopes to make the same impact as a coach as he managed as a player.

He said: “Heys is a good family club with good aspirations to move forward.

"I am looking forward to the challenge and will hopefully be able to use the experience I have gained from my time in the game to pass on some good advice to the players.”

Heys ended up finishing eighth in the First Division, 12 points outside the play-off places.

It was a disappointing finish but not a bad return after making it back to the sixth tier of the non-league pyramid following a 30-year absence.

A run of 13 matches in 35 days proved too much for the squad to bear, and led to a number of injuries.

They only had 14 fit players to choose from on Saturday and made all three of their substitutions by the early stages of the second half following more injuries, including a ruptured Achilles for Paul Tierney.

Brad Lyons led the team by example in his final match before retirement.

Their resolve did not crack until the 48th minute when Alex Hughes fired home a shot for the visitors.

Having lost Lyons to injury at half time, Greg Wills followed shortly after leaving Heys with their last 11 available players on the pitch.

In the 65th minute Hughes fired in his second of the game before Heys rallied.

James Hampson had a shot tipped around the post and Lee O'Brien glanced a header narrowly wide before pulling a goal back from the penalty spot three minutes from time.

Heys reserves moved closer to the Manchester League Division One title with successive wins against Breightmet (1-0) and Hollinwood (3-2). They need five points from their last four games and could be crowned champions if they beat Leigh Athletic at Adie Moran Park on Saturday, kick off 2pm.