Kimberley Miners Welfare joint manager Ian Deakin says he wants to help raise the profile of the club as it prepares for its third season in the East Midlands Counties League.
Deakin has used his numerous contacts in the game to bring in some key signings to the Stag Ground and is hoping more will follow, with the new campaign set to commence on August 6.
Former Eastwood Town and Alfreton Town defender Chris Shaw is among those to have joined the Miners, as has another ex-Alfreton player in goalkeeper Shaun Bodkin and former Heanor midfielder Gerry Moran.
Experienced striker Gary Ricketts has featured in pre-season and may also commit to the club, but Deakin says he’s been pleased with the signings Welfare have made so far.
He said: “Obviously Chris Shaw is an Eastwood legend having played there for five years and I also played alongside him for Heanor, so he’s a great signing who is still more than capable of playing at a higher level, and at 31-years-old still has lots to offer.
“I’ve known Shaun Bodkin a long time and we’ve brought him in as first choice keeper. He hasn’t played regularly for about three years but he featured in the pre-season game with Long Eaton and made some fantastic saves and looked comfortable on crosses too, so we’re really happy he’s signed.
“There could still be more to come. Gary Ricketts is obviously in the twilight of his career now and is just working out what his next move will be, but I think he could do a job for us if we can bring him in.
“Others have been close to signing for us but have ended up joining clubs higher up the pyramid, mainly for financial reasons which is understandable given we’re not able to pay players that come here.”
Whilst he’s been keen to bring in new faces, Deakin has also been impressed with what is already available at the Stag Ground and believes that with the knowledge both he and fellow boss Martin Lench have of the game at various levels, they will complement each other well.
He said: “I’ve been really pleased with the quality of players here and am keen to have a good blend of youth and experience in the team. Where we’ve got players like Shawy, we’ve also got some bright young teenagers and they can learn from the experienced lads.
“I want players to know that if they do well here then the contacts I’ve built up in the game could mean I can open doors for them to get moves higher up.
“At the same time, the knowledge Martin has of the game at this level will prove vital in bringing players in from the local area that I may not have as much awareness of.
“I’ve told the players that because of the signings we’re making and the interest people will have in us as a result, there will be quite a bit of pressure on them, perhaps more than they are used to.
“But I think they’ll cope well with it. I’m keen to raise the profile of the club as, in local football terms, we’re a small fish in a big pond and it would be great for us to make people sit up and notice us.”