GOALKEEPER Sam Felgate believes skipper and club stalwart Nicky Palmer has been a key figure in "riding out the storm" at Harwich and Parkeston.

It proved an eventful first-half of the season for the Shrimpers, with former manager Kieron Shelley departing in December.

Mike Wallace and assistant Gary Kioussis have since taken the reins, backed by new captain Palmer.

And Felgate believes the latter's influence should not be underestimated as his side strive to climb the Thurlow Nunn League first division south table in 2020.

"Nicky has really helped in terms of riding out the storm," he said.

"When things get tough, you can always back him to stay positive and he’s a fantastic leader and captain.

"Retaining local players is vital to our future and I can only commend him for standing by the club when a lot of others took the decision to leave.

"The past few months have been eventful and a challenge.

"It was a shame things didn’t work out for Kieran but, unfortunately, things happen in football and I’m sure he'll find success in his next role (Shelley has since become assistant manager at Holland FC).

"Mike and Gary have stripped things back to basics, allowed us to play to our strengths and instilled confidence.

"It’s refreshing and, on a personal level, I feel like we're back close to where we were this time last year."