Progress on and off the pitch pleases boss Hawkins

Carl Slater will be seen by Nick Hawkins as a key player as Eastwood Town attempts to get back into the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
Carl Slater will be seen by Nick Hawkins as a key player as Eastwood Town attempts to get back into the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

Eastwood Town joint-manager Nick Hawkins says he has been encouraged by the progress being made at Coronation Park during the close season.

With no balls being kicked the focus has been on building a squad for the next campaign, as well as improving the club’s infrastructure behind the scenes.

And with on the pitch work having been carried out in a literal sense too given the re-seeding of the playing surface, Hawkins says things are moving along well.

“We’re all working hard to try and improve all areas of the club,” he said.

“As well as trying to recruit players and arrange friendlies, we’ve got new committee members on board and are also devising plans to open the social club most days of the week given how much of a good asset it can be.

“I’m speaking to chairman Steve Lynch and vice-chairman Steve Peat very regularly and both are taking a very ‘hands on’ approach to things, which is very important.”

With regard to the squad, deals are done with several players to appear for the Badgers next season, though some names are unable to be released until forms can officially be signed during the middle of June.

One deal Hawkins says is ‘100 per cent done’ is that to bring former Gresley FC skipper Carl Slater to the club.

Midfielder Slater, 30, was a regular at the South Derbyshire club for several years and most recently turned out for Heanor Town.

Hawkins said: “Carl is a high quality player and with his experience is the kind of player I want to build a team around.

“He’s really excited about the challenge and is texting me virtually every day with his progress on getting fit and so on, so I can see him being a real asset.

“I think we will have around 40 players coming to our first training session on June 22, although naturally there will be players we won’t be taking on, but I have in my mind a squad of about 16-18 already that I want to put together and any other gems that surface will be a bonus.”

Meanwhile, Matlock Town have been announced as Eastwood’s final pre-season friendly opponents on Saturday, August 10.