New Rainworth Miners’ Welfare manager Craig Denton said he was delighted that five of last season’s squad have committed themselves to the Northern Counties East Premier Division club for next season.
He said he believed that with a strong backroom staff of assistants Rob Poulter and Richard Lawrence, plus coaches Nev Hunt and Paul Rockley — as well as the excellent pitch and facilities at the Kirklington Road stadium — the club was well placed to attract good-quality players.
Goalkeeper and last season’s skipper Ben Townsend has been joined by outfield players Ryan Booker, Rob Ludlam, Connor Griffin and Tomas Poole in confirming their commitment as the new boss and his management team seek to build a competitive squad.
Denton said his preparations for the season were going really well, adding: “I’m speaking to a few players and some of the lads who were here last season, and things are falling into place.
“The NCEL offers a good standard of football. There are good, ambitious players who are showing an interest in coming on board, so we are really looking forward to it.
“For me, Rainworth is a great club to launch my managerial career as a number one.
“Having met the chairman and the committee, I was impressed by what they want to achieve, and their realistic targets.
“It’s a great club with an excellent pitch and facilities.
“It’s run by volunteers and everyone pulls together.”
While insisting that he wanted his team to play bright, attractive football, Denton pointed out that the NCEL was a challenging league and said he would not be afraid to change things when circumstances dictated and it becomes necessary to grind out a result.
He continued: “Of course we want to play football to please the supporters and to score goals, but also to make us hard to beat because that’s where you build up your points tally.
“Last season, despite having probably the best keeper in the league in Ben Townsend — and I’m delighted he has decided to stay — too many goals were conceded.
“That is something we have to nip in the bud from the outset.
“That will take preparation and organisation to make us more solid and compact.”
Asked about his target league position for the coming season, Denton indicated that he was looking to finish higher in the league table than in the playing budget table.
He said: “We need to start well and get some early points on the board, but we have to be realistic about our ambitions with our budget level.
“I want to see us establish ourselves in the top half and if we can be competing around the top six that would be tremendous.
“We will try to finish as high as possible while keeping in mind where we are and the stature of the club.”