Firstly, we are all really excited about getting the ball rolling again. The players needed the break and our staff has as well but to be honest, life being the manager of the team means that you work all through the pre-season and try and get as prepared as possible for the season ahead. The foundations have been put down now and we are now going into the season with an identity, consistency of coaching and messages and ultimately now in the best place possible to win games consistently.
The last few weeks the players have been working hard to get up to fitness and it has given us a chance to have some lads in on trial whilst also looking to bring in our recruitment targets. Our expectations are quite clear, we want to be right up there this year, competing for promotion. To do that we need to turn the draws we had last year into wins first and then we can look at what we could have done more in the games we lost, we dropped 19 points from the 88th minute onwards in games last season and this is something we must and will correct.
Recruitment and retention are challenging as it is every year, throughout the last season we have significantly developed our players and some of these have been targets for other clubs. We have done everything possible to retain the players we wanted/want to keep as these are our biggest signings of the summer, having consistency is key, we don’t want another re-build. Unfortunately, players do leave and two key players for us, Kyle Foley and Daniel McLaughlin left as said before we did everything to try and keep but we move on and are excited to welcome the new additions we have in our front line. What I will say is that losing the players we have in the season they have had is a testament to the work our staff do, improving and getting the best out of what we have is crucial as resource financially isn’t as big compared to rivals in the league.
We have retained a good 90% of the squad and recruited in a few key areas, we are delighted to bring in Alex Fowell (GK), Trevor Kyobe (FB), Conor Downes (CM), Luke Jackson (FWD), and Arek Pociask (FWD). We are delighted to have retained late recruits from 21.22 Danny Byrnes (FWD) and Ryan Shenton (FWD) to bolster our attacking options. Recruiting Conor Downes is a massive signing and a clear intention of where we are aspiring to be and recruitment hasn’t finished as such yet. We’re working hard on identifying the right people and I’m still speaking to a couple of others and trying to get them over the line.
We are quite relaxed and happy with where we are at right now, we are excited about what we can achieve this year and reshaping the team with a few new ideas and equipping them with what we feel will help us take the next step. I’m looking forward to welcoming our fans back again, that first game of the season isn’t far away now!