Manager Ian Allinson admits that the off-season is always a testing time but he is ultimately pleased at the summer arrivals, hinting there may be yet even more additions to the City ranks.
“It has been difficult and we tried to get as many key players committed as early in the process as we could. There are a few players who didn’t respond to their renegotiation terms but we couldn’t wait forever so we’ve had to look elsewhere in terms of what we need.”
“A large number of the players at this level now have agents, so that ultimately prolongs the process but we’ve had our first training session back and I have to say that I’m delighted with the squad that’s been assembled at the moment – despite the fact we’re probably a forward or two shy of where we need to be at this time.”
Although having only recently returned from a well-deserved holiday, Allinson has been aware of the continuing fallout regarding the new ticket scheme but has called for unity ahead of the forthcoming campaign.
“Of course it’s been something I’ve been made aware of”.
He continued “Over the three years I’ve been here the supporters have been outstanding. There is obviously an argument for both sides of the coin but it’s not arguments we need at this stage, it’s a collective of everyone involved with the club.”
“We’ve almost doubled the average attendance during my time here and the players need the full support from the terraces so we have to work together to move the club forward in the right way.”
Despite the promotion of Woking and Torquay, 2019/20 looks set to be the toughest of Allinson’s reign so far with the spending and quality of acquisitions from competitors ensuring the task ahead will be as difficult as any season which preceded.
“I’m looking at the play-offs again. That’s my main priority.”
“We’ve lost a number of the longer journeys like Truro and Weston which obviously helps us but more teams are going full time and the financial backing they have will undoubtedly give them a clear advantage in terms of fitness. It’s going to be tough but we’re comfortable playing in this league, we like this league and as I said earlier we’re building a squad that will be competitive; but we do need to source a couple of goal scorers in the coming weeks.”
Pre-season may well be in its infancy but the boss is keen to quickly establish confidence and conditioning heading into the first match at Haringey this Saturday.
“We’ve always tried to play with pace, especially in the forward areas so we’ve looked at improving quality all over the park. I think the next few weeks will give us an indication of how much these players want to be here and how far they can go to improving the football club”.
“Defensively I think we’ve retained some quality players which helps with continuity and we’ve added that extra quality over the last few months which should help us too.”
“In terms of the midfield I think we lost our way a touch when the injuries hit. I felt we ended up going a little bit too long, going from back to front too quickly and we lost our way from what we were trying to do and that’s play a bit of football. That said, we’ve strengthened in the middle of the park and it’s just a matter of getting another goalscorer on the books in time for him to get a good pre-season with the lads.”
“We’ve got a few irons in the fire and I’d like to get at least one of them over the line as I don’t want to leave it too long with the first game looming large.”
“By the time the Stevenage game comes around then I want to have a settled squad of 18 players but we’ve still got some important sessions up to that point. We’ve got new faces joining us all the time so we’ll take two teams to Haringey and the same to Ware just so it gives everyone a fair crack to show us what they can do.”
Photo courtesy of the Herts Ad.