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Black looks to quickly shape squad

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Belper Town are close to completing the signatures of several players as new boss Grant Black plots an early summer squad rebuild at the Marston’s Stadium.

Black was only appointed to the Nailers managerial post last week but has wasted no time in identifying and recruiting the players he feels will make Belper a stronger force when the Evo-Stik NPL South Division kicks off on 18th August.

He hopes to have those deals wrapped up before next week and hasn’t closed the door on others arriving before the start of the new campaign, while inviting all of last year’s squad back for the first session of pre-season training on 3rd July.

Black said: “We always like to get things done as soon as we can. There are always those players that are in demand, maybe holding out for more money or getting attention from higher up the pyramid.

“There’ll always be movement in the last couple of weeks when it’s not worked out between a club and a player.

“You can always pick one or two up towards the end of pre-season but we like to get it done early so that when we come back on the 3rd July we’re working with the core of the squad that we’ll have for the season.

“That will give us time to establish how we want to play and what we expect from players on day one rather than changing things non-stop throughout pre-season and then starting from 18th August, I don’t think that works.

“We’re big believers in getting everyone together as quickly as we can. We want to have the spine sorted out as quick as possible and we want to set out our standards from 3rd July.”

And added: “We’ve invited everyone back and made contact with one or two already that we want to tie down, and they’ve agreed to stay, it’s looking good. There’s still plenty of work to do, we’re never satisfied, but everyone we’ve targeted so far has agreed to come in.”

Black and his coaching team are keen to get their philosophies over to the players from the first day of pre-season and offered supporters an insight into their thinking when it comes to a particular style of football they can expect to witness.

“First and foremost we want to win football matches. Winning football matches will bring people through the gates. If people look at our stats from Ossett, defensively we were very solid and think we conceded the least amount of goals to get to the play-off final last year and we scored more than 100 goals.

“We look to attack, we look to create a lot of chances; we’ll be bringing in strikers who can do that and provide service in behind. We’ll also be well-drilled so that when we don’t have the ball we’ll get back in as quick as we can and work together as a team,” said Black.

Meanwhile, the Nailers’ pre-season’s fixtures have quickly taken shape with the club this week announcing several dates for the diary starting with home matches against Tamworth on 17th July (7.45pm) and Handsworth Parramore on 20th July (7.45pm) before trips to Worsborough on 26th July (7.45pm) and Goole AFC on 28th July (3pm).

Another home friendly against Coalville on 4th August precedes home matches with a Chesterfield XI on 7th August (7.30pm) and Matlock Town on 11th August (3pm). The match with Matlock will see the two teams compete for the Caroline Melbourne Trophy.

“We wanted to try and mix it up a little bit,” said Black. “We looked to have a couple of games pre-season where we predominantly would see a lot of the ball, against teams maybe of lesser opposition; which they won’t mind me saying because the boot will be on the other foot in a couple of the other matches where we’ll be getting the run around.

“To finish on two testing games really to enter the season. We can look at things in the other four or five games but the last two is where we’re going to be looking at for starting the new season on the 18th August. Matlock will be a test to stand us in good stead to look at the kind of teams we will be playing in the Evo-Stik.”