Kevin Wilson says he hopes to have his squad finalised by the end of this week with the new season just around the corner.
The Ilkeston FC boss is aiming to agree deals with two or three new players by the weekend, as well as working out who may not be featuring for his team this season.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday night’s 2-0 friendly defeat at Coalville Town, Wilson said the squad was ‘in a good place’ with just over a week before the trip to Witton Albion on the opening day.
“We know this season will be another challenge for us but we want to improve on last year, not only in the league but also in the cup competitions, including the Doodson Sport Cup,” he said.
“Pre-season has by and large gone very well and although we’ve had a few lethargic spells, I’m happy with the progress we’re making.”
The Robins confirmed last week that goalkeeper Jordan Smith has agreed a one-year loan deal from Nottingham Forest having impressed during Ilkeston’s friendlies, and Wilson remains keen to keep midfielder David Morgan.
Striker Massiah McDonald is still training with Ilkeston and scored at Gresley FC in a 3-2 friendly win last Saturday, with Wilson set to make a decision on the 23-year-old’s future in due course.
He said: “Massiah has been with us for a couple of weeks now and has done very well.
“He’s still young and has a job outside of football now so his financial demands may not be what they were when we tried to sign him in the past.
“Obviously people are concerned about his disciplinary record and arguably his reputation comes before him a little bit, but like a lot of lads he’s very different off the field to how he is on it and deserves the chance to let his football do the talking.
“So we’ll keep watching him closely and if we feel it’s the right fit then maybe a deal can be done.”
Uncertainty still surrounds the future of club captain Laurie Wilson, with the midfielder currently unable to train with the rest of the squad due to work commitments.
The manager added: “Laurie has a good career away from football but with our new full-time, daytime training regime, it means he’s only been able to play in the friendlies rather than train.
“So we’ll have to wait and see on that one. All of the other players are able to train at least twice a week, even those with other jobs, but Laurie is the only one who can’t at the moment which obviously could pose a problem.”
Ilkeston head to Lincoln United on Saturday for their final pre-season friendly.
And Wilson believes the match will be something of a dress rehearsal for the opening game at Witton.
He said: “There are still one or two areas we’re not sure about and that may still be the case after the Lincoln game, but it will give people an idea of where we are.
“We’ve had lots of games in the last couple of weeks but that, compared with the fitness gained from the full-time training, means we should be raring to go next Saturday.”