Ilkeston Town boss Steve Chettle made his first two signings of the summer this week as he begins his plans for next season in earnest.
As the Advertiser went to press on Wednesday morning, the identities of the two players had not been released, but one has played in the Football League and at the higher levels of non-league, and the other is a bright prospect signed from one of the Robins’ neighbours.
And with Chettle also confirming that only two of the squad that ended the campaign have left the club so far, he is happy with how things are progressing.
He said: “I’ve sat down with all of the players now and aside from Micah Edwards and Mark Green who left at the end of the season, all of the players want to re-engage and stay with us.
“So they will all get the opportunity to show me they’re good enough to stay and the best will be in the squad of 16 for the opening game on August 4.
“I’ve got two new players signed and am talking to several other potential signings this week, with the opportunity to look at some during the pre-season games.
“But let’s just say that if the season were to start tomorrow we’d be fine as we have a healthy number of players - it’s just a case of now seeing if we can improve on what we already have.”
Chettle says he’s under no illusions as to how much of a different challenge the MFL Premier Division will be to the one faced last season.
He said: “We’ve been promoted with Walsall Wood who will again be strong contenders given their financial backing, and you could say similar about a lot of clubs in the Premier Division such as Bromsgrove Sporting and Sporting Khalsa, among others.
“So it’s going to be very competitive and recruitment will be so important, but I feel that a lot of our current squad are more than capable of playing at that level.”
Chettle added that he is still hopeful of adding a home pre-season friendly to the list of away matches announced last week, although all will depend on the New Manor Ground pitch.
He said: “I’d like to get Football League opposition to the NMG the week before the start of the season, on Saturday, July 28, but the pitch is having lots of work done to it and it will all depend on whether our groundsman Matt Hallam is happy that it can be played on when the time comes.”