Ilkeston FC released three of their first team squad this week but new head coach Paul Holland is confident further new arrivals are imminent.
Defenders Luke Shaw and Aiden Print and the versatile Curtis Burrows have all been told they won’t be offered new deals by the Robins, each of them having appeared regularly for the club last season.
And while Holland admitted it was a tough decision to have to make, he hopes more new faces to add to the recent acquisitions of player/coaches Liam Hearn and Luke Foster will make up for the departures.
He said: “Sometimes as a manager you have to make unpopular decisions, and while I know these lads were rated by some of our supporters, I felt I couldn’t guarantee them the football they wanted next season.
“When you’re bringing players in it inevitably means you have to lose some to make room and unfortunately these three players won’t be at the club next season.
“However, they are talented lads who I hope will go on to fulfil their potential elsewhere. I’ve been at the club the whole time they’ve been here so I’m well aware of their qualities but it’s time now that they got some regular first team football, which is something I can’t guarantee them at the moment.
“There was no falling out, we shook hands and they go with our best wishes for the future.”
Academy players Luis Rose and Connor Walters have joined fellow youngsters Brandon Clarke, Keenan Meakin, Ben Morris and Max Thornberry in committing to Ilkeston for the next campaign.
Meanwhile, contracts have been offered to Michael Williams, Matt Baker, Haydn Goddard, Jordan Wheatley, Ryan Head, Jamie Hannis and Roy Lee, with Holland keen to have the deals tied up as soon as possible.
He said: “I don’t want a situation where the squad is evolving too much during pre-season as I want to get a settled side as soon as I can.
“It may be the case next year that we send one or two of the young lads out on loan to get some experience, but they’ll all be given the chance in pre-season to stake their claim for a place in the team which is why I’m glad we’ve been able to get so many signed up.
“We’re speaking to those who are yet to sign every day and hopefully they’ll commit to the club in due course.”
Holland says he is hoping to have deals tied up for two new players by the weekend, but that signing players at this time of the year is never straightforward.
He added: “Clearly players have plenty of options at this stage but we’ve spoken to two lads who will bring real quality to the side and who I’m confident will come.”
Meanwhile, it was also confirmed this week that academy manager Steve Welsh will assist Holland on first team matchdays.
The 48-year-old Scot, who had a long playing career in the English Football League and in Scotland, joined the Robins last season and oversaw the club’s run to the third round of the FA Youth Cup, also taking charge of the first team for the last game of the season following the departure of Andy Watson.
His role with the academy will remain unaffected and he will coach the youngsters on a day-to-day basis alongside recent recruits Hearn and Foster.
Holland will face questions from Ilkeston supporters on Wednesday night (8th) at the New Manor Ground clubhouse in a specially-arranged Q&A session.
He will be joined by his assistant and academy director Steve Welsh as well as player/coaches Liam Hearn and Luke Foster and some other first team players. Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start.