Paul MacFarland hopes that two new signings and a pair of players returning from injury will provide a spark for his Eastwood CFC side in the first two games of 2016.
After just one outing in December, a cup loss to Bulwell, Eastwood are back in action on Saturday when they host Southwell City, before Tuesday’s league visit to Bulwell.
The manager, who struggled to put out a full strength squad in that cup defeat, is suddenly blessed with options.
“I’m after a good performance, because although we’ve still got two out injured, we’ve signed Steve O’Connell – a striker from Borrowash, and James Leggitt from Staveley.
“And we have Shaun Roberts and Ollie Buxton back.
“I’m hoping the squad will be strong enough to win both games, it doesn’t always go like that in football but we have a stronger side now than we put out in December.”
The break from action has allowed MacFarland to get players fit, ease an injury crisis and rest some very weary legs.
He said: “We’ve played more games than anyone in the league, and that had taken its toll.
“The break wasn’t a bad thing, you never want to go three weeks without a game but I’m hoping it will have done more good than harm.”
Despite Southwell’s status as the team holding up the rest of the Black Dragon Division South, there’s no chance Eastwood will be taking them lightly.
“The fact that I’m bringing in two new signings and two who have ben out for a long period will give us the boost we need for this game,” he said.
“We’re back to having five on the bench, two regular lads will be sitting watching and we have three first team lads playing in the reserves.
“There’s no chance of me underestimating Southwell, they’ve broken their duck recently and they’re a young side – if we don’t put our chances away and get control early, they’ll get their tails up and it will become a difficult game.
“We need to get back to working hard and getting results, we’ve got to be up for it, come out of the blocks and take control.”