All change at Kimberley as new season edges closer

Kimberley Miners Welfare have had a busy pre-season, including matches against the likes of Eastwood Community (pictured)
Kimberley Miners Welfare have had a busy pre-season, including matches against the likes of Eastwood Community (pictured)

Manager Paul Rawden says he is confident Kimberley Miners Welfare will make a big impression in the East Midlands Counties League this season after a summer of widespread changes.

Just a handful of players remain at the Stag Ground from Kimberley’s debut campaign at step six last season, with Rawden having been very busy trying to build a squad that will challenge in the upper echelons of the table as well as play a different and more attractive style of football.

The new season begins on August 8 with the visit of Holwell Sports and Rawden says although some more fine tuning needs to take place to ensure his squad is ready, he is happy with how things have progressed.

“Last season was all about trying to get a competitive side together for what was our first season at this level, but this year we’re looking to go one step further,” he said.

“We’ve brought in a lot of new players, many with good experience at higher levels, and will be looking to play a different style of football in that we want to get the ball down and pass it around and be more positive than last year. I believe we’ll score plenty of goals and I think lots of teams in our division will struggle to cope with how we’ll play as it’ll be different to how many set up.

“All of pre-season has been spent looking at potential signings and although some lads have come in and not been what we’re looking for, I think we’ve got a good squad of about 18-20 that will do the job next year.

“We might need two or three more and I also want to see where we can utilise current players in different positions to avoid us having to go out and get someone else every time injuries and suspensions hit.”

Welfare’s final friendly will be at home to Attenborough this Saturday (1st) with the home games against Holwell Sports and South Normanton Athletic (Aug 12th) beginning the season.

Rawden said: “We’ve got a tough start, not only with who we’re playing but also because we have about eight games in the first month which is crazy at this level when work commitments and holidays are taken into account.

“But I’ve set very realistic targets - a top eight finish and FA Cup qualification is the minimum requirement.

“We want to get the club on the map and for people to sit up and notice us.

“Playing good, entertaining football and getting more people in through the gate will be key to our future in terms of revenue and reputation and with work having gone on off the pitch to improve our general infrastructure, things are looking really good.

“We’ve been doing everything very methodically in terms of building this club up from the Notts Senior League days and it’s going well. Now we are aiming to take it that bit further this year and we can’t wait to get the season started.”