by James Grayson www.nonleagueyorkshire.com
Chris Hilton says patience is the key word as Stocksbridge Park Steels prepare for their new season.
Hilton has had to rebuild his Stocksbridge side after departures of several key players such as Joe Lumsden, Matt Reay and David Reay.
Aaron Moxam has arrived, along with Brad Beatson, Kane Swinburn, Kurtis Turner and Tyler Williams and Hilton admits it may take time for things to come together.
“I had a feeling we would lose the players we did do,” Hilton told Non League Yorkshire.
“We were disappointed to lose Joe, but these things happen. I wish everyone who has left all the best.
“We’ve kept a good core of last season’s squad and recruitment has gone well. There was one other target we had, but we decided against it because the club he was with wanted some money for him and we weren’t prepared to pay. We’re not that type of club.
“I’m pretty happy with what we have got and I’m still looking at a couple of other players.
“There’s no doom and gloom, but people have to realise that it is a little bit of a rebuild. It is not massive, but we have lost six players from last season.
“We have to bring six players and they have to be of the same quality, if not better for us to push on. But we have to give them time to gel and get them used to the way we play.
“It can take a season to click, it could take a week or six months. It is now about how hard myself, Lee Thompson and Ryan Laight and Shaun Handisides work the lads in training to get them playing the way we want to do.
“We’re at the start of that. The Nostell game really is the first one. The Sheffield United and Rotherham United games, let’s face it, you’re playing against professionals and you don’t get a lot of the ball.
“We now need to progress against Parkgate, Penistone and then Worsbrough and show that we are progressing and getting better.”
Stocksbridge had to come from behind to draw with Nostell and Hilton paid tribute to their hosts. He also highlighted areas that Stocksbridge need to work on in training.
“Nostell are a good side and I think they will do well,” he said.
“Their work rate was good, they put themselves about in a competitive way. For the first 45 minutes, they put in an unbelievable shift in and I think they deserved a draw.
“From our own point of view, Nostell are two weeks away from their season starting, we’re four weeks away from starting.
“What we did have against Nostell is more of the ball than we did against Sheffield United and Rotherham which is a good start for us.
“It is all about peaking when we get to August 18th. I’ve seen lots of clubs and people on Twitter saying ‘we have won two games in pre-season, we’re going to have a great season’.
“You don’t get any points in pre-season. Pre-season is all about getting your team geared up for the first game.
“We’re not there yet. Against Nostell we were sluggish, we didn’t move the ball quick enough and the gaps between defence and midfield and midfield to the forward weren’t compact enough.
“There’s lots of areas to work on, but that’s why we have booked in friendlies for Monday, Thursday, Tuesday and Saturday. Then we’ll have a couple of weeks off from games before the season starts so we can work on shape in training.”