Cotton looking ahead to Clipstone improvement next season

Action from Clipstone's 3-0 defeat at Staveley Miners Welfare in their last league match of the season. (PHOTO BY: Daniel Walker).
Action from Clipstone's 3-0 defeat at Staveley Miners Welfare in their last league match of the season. (PHOTO BY: Daniel Walker).

Manager Ian Cotton is already looking forward to next season after three individual errors cost Clipstone dear in their final match of the 2016/17 campaign.

The errors gifted Staveley Miners Welfare a 3-0 half-time lead, which they successfully protected through to the final whistle.

It was a result that left Clipstone in 16th place in the 22-team Northern Counties East League’s Premier Division table with 49 points from 42 games after an often-turbulent year.

But Cotton, who took charge for only the last 15 of those games, is confident that improvement can be found on the back of a busy summer and full pre-season.

“We will have a different mindset next season, and we will be better prepared, both in terms of the way we need to play and the teams we will be playing against,” said the boss.

“We will try to pick up some new players, which will be difficult, and then we will go again. We will also give the opportunity to the current players pre-season to see if they are good enough, can get fit enough and or want it enough. We will give it a good go, and I am looking forward to it.”

Cotton also issued a warning to players about the commitment required in the Northern Counties East League after his squad was left short of players for the final few matches.

“At this level, you have to be fully committed for the full season,” he said. “We have found out that some players aren’t, which is unacceptable. Also, a few players are noticeably not fit enough for this level, so they have been given instructions as to what do about it in their own time.”

So threadbare was The Cobras’ squad for the trip to Staveley that they had to finish the match with only nine players because of injuries.

But Cotton was pleased with his side’s attitude and application in the second half after they had turned round three goals down. It was an even contest until mistakes handed goals to Tyla Bell in the 20th and 23rd minutes. Staveley netted their third on the stroke of half-time when a ball into the box was punched by goalkeeper Andy Francis straight to Andrew Fox, who chipped into an unguarded net from just outside the area.

“We didn’t play badly in that first half, but three errors meant the game was virtually over at half-time,” said Cotton. “We picked the players up again and told them to enjoy the second half.”