Matlock Town boss Mark Hume has reiterated that his side underachieved last season as they finished in a disappointing 17th spot.
The Gladiators hauled themselves clear of any relegation trouble in the closing weeks of the campaign having toiled in the lower half of the table for much of the season.
And Hume says a bad run of form in February and March was key to their final position.
He said: “Frustrating’s one word to describe it. It could and should have been a comfortable season for us but that losing run in February and March had us looking over our shoulders.
“We didn’t do as well as we should have done and while a mixture of bad luck, injuries and suspensions were contributory factors, it was also down to not doing the business on the field.
“There’s been too many yo-yo type of performances, we’ve created a lot of chances but missed them while at the other end we’ve gifted the opposition too many goals through someone not doing their job.
“As a player I’d do anything to try and score or keep out a goal and as a manager I’ve got to instil that mentality into our players.”
Hume now faces a busy summer in which he aims to bring in the required personnel to strengthen the spine of his squad.
The goalkeeping, defensive and most significantly the striking positions are high on his agenda.
He said: “Nobody’s happy with that disappointing season, it’s a hard league but we still should have done far better so it’s plain that I have to add to the squad both numbers wise and in quality.
“I’ve been speaking to five strikers, you have to do that as you don’t know if the lads you have in your mind as first choices will say yes or no and of course strikers are more expensive.”
The Town boss concedes he could have done some things better but is confident that with lessons learned from last season, 2016/17 will be a better one for the Gladiators.
“I’m big enough to admit I could have done some things better,” he added.
“I believe I was probably too loyal to certain players and showed too much belief that they could do the job, they had too many chances.
“Losing to the likes of Stamford and Whitby cost us a lot of points and if the players learn anything from last season then it’s not to take anything for granted.
“They need to be more ruthless and I think I have to do likewise as a manager. They can only have so many chances. I regret now not bringing more players in but there’s no point bringing in people just for the sake of it, they must improve us and fit into the squad we have.
“But it’s important we freshen the squad up now and I feel happy in my own mind that we’ll be better equipped than we were at the start of this season.”
Matlock’s annual Presentation Evening takes place in the Social Club at Causeway Lane on Friday night (7.30 pm start) when the supporters and player’s player of the year trophies will be presented along with the young player, leading goalscorer and club person awards. The reserve team and academy awards will also be made on the night with admission being free and a buffet and disco provided.
Meanwhile the Evo-Stik NPL season finally concluded last weekend. Joining Darlington in National League North next season are Salford City who beat Workington 3-2 in the play-off Final.
Corby Town and Hednesford Town look likely to join the NPL after their relegation from National League North. Coming up are respective Division One North and South champions Warrington Town and Stafford Rangers as well as Spennymoor Town and Coalville Town.