GRANTHAM Town joint manager Jimmy Albans says he expects to have a full squad assembled for when pre-season training begins at the end of the month.
Albans said that along with all of last season’s squad, barring Olly Dyson, he hoped to have several new faces to bolster his and Wayne Hallcro’s ambitions for promotion to the Northern Premier League next season.
Albans said: “We felt at the end of the season that we were two or three players away from having a very good squad. We have agreed terms with three of our targets for the summer and are still talking to a couple of others. They will be with the club when we start pre-season training on the 30th of June.”
A recent mini shake-up of Grantham’s Evo-Stik League Division One South has seen New Mills replace Rugby Town and Shepshed Dynamo earn a reprieve, and Albans said they expected there to be eight to 10 sides in with a shout of a top five position. He said that to achieve their goal of promotion, the Gingerbreads were going to need the “right level of budget” to realise their ambition.
Albans said: “We know what we want to do and where we are going. We have a number of players who have had substantially better offers than the wages we were paying them last season.
“Last year we asked players to sign for us on an element of goodwill. This season we have to reward them for their loyalty to us as a club.”
The Gingerbreads will face a new challenge when they visit Sutton Coldfield Town next season, with the West Midlands side electing to replace their Coles Lane turf with a 3G plastic pitch. Albans said he was not in favour of artificial pitches and that it gave the home side an unfair advantage.
He said: “I don’t think it is an appropriate surface to be playing football on at this level. Given the option of playing on an artificial pitch or the mudpatch that Sutton Coldfield was last season, I would take the mudpatch any time.”
Albans said they would be looking to train on a similar surface prior to visiting Sutton Coldfield next season.
l Hallcro and Albans have three pre-season friendlies confirmed so far, with the remainder expected to be announced shortly.
The Gingerbreads will visit Lincoln Moorlands on Thursday, July 21, kick-off 7.30pm. Tuesday, July 26 is the date for Grantham’s Lincolnshire County Shield first round fixture at home to Spalding United. Kick-off will be 7.45pm.
Should Town beat the Tulips, they will then host Brigg Town at The Meres in the semi-final of the competition on Saturday, August 6, with a 3pm kick-off.