Manager Paul McFarland believes Eastwood Community FC can really put themselves on the map this coming season.
The fledgling club, who were formed to replace the now defunct Eastwood Town, had a tough baptism of fire in the Central Midlands League last season, getting regular hammerings before they found their feet to finish 13th out of the 15 clubs.
“There is lots in the pipeline this year,” said McFarland. “This is a very big year for the club.
“There is so much going on behind the scenes and, if it all goes to plan, it will be fantastic.
“I am hoping this club will be back on the map and we are looking at going forwards.”
McFarland returned to the club midway through Eastwood Town’s final season in January 2014.
He had previously spent 12 years at the club, mainly through the 1990s, and had numerous roles, although he mainly worked with the reserves, before moving on to jobs at clubs like Ripley Town, South Normanton Athletic, Sutton Town, Glapwell and Ilkeston.
He believes consistency in team selection holds the key to a brighter season ahead.
“I think we got through about 60 players last year,” he said. “When you look at teams in the relegation zone, it is often the case, even at the top level.
“It’s about finding that consistency and I think things changed for us once we had found 18 players that were about right.
“Suddenly then things started going right and we kept the same side and got results.
“We are starting to get more supporters coming. It was difficult at first. The club was in a mess, I know how bad it had got as I was there at the end. And the people who took over were not all football people. But it is getting more and more positive as time goes on.”
The Badgers kicked off a busy pre-season programme on Saturday with a 7-2 home defeat by Walsall-based Sporting Khalsa, a club are on a real high after winning the West Midlands Regional Premier Division with an amazing 117 points from 42 games, scored 143 goals and losing just one game in the league last season.
Eastwood then bounced back to see off Northern Counties East Premier Division Heanor Town 2-1 at home on Monday.
“I got a lot more pleasure out of the Sporting Khalsa game than the result would suggest,” said McFarland “Then we continued those positives against Heanor.
“We have five new signings in and there may possibly be a couple more. I think the side that played against Heanor is close to what will start the season. But there are still a few more friendlies yet for people to impress.
“We are not playing anyone from a lower standard pre-season. I wanted some tough friendlies. Sometimes that puts pressure on you as a manager if you lose all seven. But I wanted the challenge. I didn’t want easy friendlies to just look good in front of people.”
This Saturday McFarland’s side will revive an old club tradition and travel to Kimberley Miners Welfare to contest the Horace Hibbert Memorial Shield at The Stag Ground (3pm)..
“It is something the old Eastwood took part in so we have decided to reinstate it as something we will play every year,” he said.
Victory would mean the new Eastwood club had won their first ever piece of silverware.