Steve Chettle says he’s being given plenty of food for thought when it comes to competition for places in his Ilkeston Town side.
The Robins have played three of their six scheduled pre-season matches, winning two and drawing the other and putting in some encouraging displays.
And as Chettle aims to build a competitive squad to compete in the Midland Football League Premier Division for the first time, he is seeing his players rise to the challenge of claiming a shirt.
He said: “I wanted two players in every position and at the moment, there’s very little between the players in terms of who will start the opening game.
“Against Notts County on Tuesday it was the side which played the last half-an-hour that performed far better than those who began the game, and it’s that latter set of players that will play the first hour at Eastwood on Saturday.
“We’re hoping to announce a few more new signings this week and that will give us a strong squad with competition for places in every position.”
The Robins head to the 3G surface at Eastwood this weekend to face a side recently promoted to step six, before then returning to the same venue where they met Notts County to this time play the home side Basford United next Tuesday night.
They’ll then round things off with a home game against National League North side York City on Friday, July 27.
Chettle said: “We’re half way through the friendly line-up now and I’d say we’re pretty much where I wanted us to be at this stage.
“We’ve had varying tests, perhaps all different to what we’d face in the league although that will change in the remaining games.”
One headache Chettle does have already is injuries suffered by midfielders Jordan Wheatley and Martin Lench.
Lench was taken off at Underwood on Saturday while Wheatley received lengthy treatment at Basford in the draw with Notts County.
Chettle said: “Both looked quite nasty - Jordan went over on his ankle and Martin has injured his knee.
“It’s a good example of why we need the strength in depth and I’m confident we have players that can play in their positions, but obviously it’s a blow to lose players at this stage, albeit we’re not sure how long for at the moment.”
For news of any new signings made by the Robins ahead of the Eastwood game, monitor www.ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk.