Holland itching to get going as players return

Paul Holland
Paul Holland

Paul Holland says he is itching to get his new role as Ilkeston FC head coach started in earnest as he prepares to welcome his players back for pre-season training.

The squad return from their summer break next week, with several new signings set to train for the first time, including player/coaches Liam Hearn and Luke Foster.

And Holland, who was appointed as replacement for Andy Watson last month, is now keen to get started.

He said: “It’s been a long time since I was appointed and it’s been dragging on a bit, much as it does for anyone who misses football when the season ends.

“I’m keen to get the players in and see how they are. They were given instructions to stay in shape before they went off on their break and did various tests that they’ll be expected to match upon their return, otherwise it’ll be a while before they’re playing football again.

“To be fair, I don’t foresee any problems. It’s not like the olden days when there was a major job on to get players fit after the summer excesses - these lads and hopefully those who we’ve brought in will all be in good shape and it’ll be mainly about getting their match fitness back.”

Holland is still keen to add more signings to his squad with an experienced midfield player top of his list.

He added: “I’m still talking to players on a daily basis but the problem with more experienced players is that obviously they’re assessing their options that bit more and want to make sure they make the right move.

“So we may have to have a bit of patience. I want to have a settled squad as soon as possible and not have lots of trialists playing, but if we have to wait that bit longer for the right player then so be it.”

Holland expects some of the existing Ilkeston players that haven’t yet signed new deals to do so in the next week, adding: “I think a lot more will get sorted out once the players are back in training so hopefully we can get the remaining players to sign as soon as we can.”

Meanwhile, Holland believes the Evo-Stik Premier Division will be as tough as ever in 2016/17.

The league’s constitution was finalised last week, with Coalville Town, Corby Town, Hednesford Town, Spennymoor Town, Stafford Rangers and Warrington Town the new arrivals.

Holland said: “It’ll again be a division where anyone can beat anyone else, and you’re obviously looking at the likes of Blyth Spartans to be up there challenging again, but our preparation will be key to everything we do and I’m confident we’ll be very competitive.”