Manager Kevin Gee has expressed his delight at the way the close-season is going for Evo-Stik NPL Division One South club Rainworth Miners’ Welfare.
The majority of last season’s squad have already committed themselves to the Wrens for next season, there have been positive talks with a number of transfer targets, and work has continued apace at the Kirklington Road stadium.
Speaking at the ground on Thursday night, Gee said: “This time of year is normally very busy anyway with numerous meetings going on, firstly with last year’s squad to see who is being retained and who is moving on, then the recruitment of new players which of course is always challenging as players seek their best options both financially and in terms of the potential for success of any new club they may be interested in joining.
“However, it’s a slightly more challenging close season this time around with the initial decision to drop down a division, and then Mark (Hawkins) coming in as new chairman to ensure that we retained our NPL membership, so we were probably two weeks behind where we would have liked to be.
“But we are slowly making up for lost time and starting to put things in place. We are already seeing the benefits of the strong links we have now with Mansfield Town with their ground staff and use of modern technology. So we have been able to prepare our already excellent pitch including slitting, seeding and top soiling both the adjacent training facilities and the main pitch in just over two days ready for the new season.
“I know our own groundsmen Brian Martin and John Lock are extremely grateful as the man hours needed and hard labour required would have taken our own volunteer group probably three weeks to reach the our current position, so a big thank you to Mansfield for this assistance.
“As for the team, having met all but three of the current squad, due to holidays and work commitment, other than senior professionals Danny Bacon and Mark Camm moving on to new roles at Shirebrook Town, all have expressed a desire to stay at the club.
“ That is a fantastic platform to build on, as a lot of work went into the group last season which will be a huge benefit this season.
“We finished 14th last season in my first full season at the club, and again broke numerous records in our history with the final positioning. But the achievement was all the more remarkable since we did that without any recognised experienced strikers for the whole seaso, other than a cameo role from Ian Holmes.
“Having spoken with the new chairman last night I now know what budgets we are going to be working with, which will be similar to last year but with the opportunity to bring in two experienced strikers and alsoa creative midfield player, as we didn’t score enough goals last year from midfield.
“However, with available money dropping like a stone in football we are now being able to attract a lot more players within our existing budget. That is becaause there are a lot of players out there trying to secure last year’s deals which just aren’t there anymore.
“Obviously we will go about our business quietly as we always do, which maybe rather frustrating for our supporters , but players other than contractual can’t officially sign until 1st July.
“We have numerous targets who we have identified and met with, and have already secured three of those. In addition we have acquired a couple who have expressed an interest in joining us and have agreed deals going forward
“I’ve also met and had conversations with both Adam Murray and John Ramshaw at Mansfield as to how our link will work with potential long and short term loan deals, and I’m confident that this relationship will go from strength to strength.
“With both Kings Lynn and Stamford being promoted this year and a lot of clubs having to reduce budgets due to the current financial climate, I think we will see more of a level playing field in our division this year.
“And with a bit more depth to our side, a good blend of experience and youth as we have already seen with the likes of Kieran Wells, Adam Somes, Jobe Shaw and Jordan Claxton all gaining valuable first team experience, we are going into the new campaign looking as strong as we’ve ever been.
“We start back on the 18th June with training being on an invitational only basis due to large numbers, and with the pre-season fixture programme nearly completed - the pick of course being Mansfield Town’s first team visiting us on 23rd July - we are really looking forward to the new season.”