Worksop Town boss Ryan Hindley believes he has the basis of a very strong future Tigers team starting to take shape.
With three young players added to his injury-hit side, Worksop managed a 1-1 home draw with Penistone Church last Saturday and face them away in the return game this Saturday.
Hindley acknowledged promotion this season is now a tall order but wants fans to remain patient as he builds them something exciting for the future.
“Saturday saw three new players involved and I think we finished the game with five or six players under the age of 21, which was really pleasing,” he said.
“It will future-proof the club for a long time.
“The key for me now is to build and develop a group of lads, whether they are 20 years old or whatever, to give Worksop a very good side for the next couple of years.
“It’s going to take a monumental effort to finish in the top two now, I believe.
“We just need to find some consistency – that will come from having a settled side.
“If may take two or three games for it to gel but if you look at the quality of players we have got coming back from injury, we could go on a really good run.
“I am happy with how things are at the minute.”
Naturally fans want those wins and a settled side now.
But Hindley said it wasn’t that simple.
“It wasn’t the greatest atmosphere in the world on Saturday. But these people pay their money and they want to see Worksop win game after game,” he said.
“Unfortunately we haven’t been doing that of late. To get 383 in the day before Christmas Eve just shows you what a big club it is.
“They are entitled to an opinion - though their opinions haven’t been particularly great.
“You expect that. It’s the nature of managing such a big club.
“People expect Worksop should be winning football games. Yes we should, but this is a transitional period.
“I know the fans are probably sick of hearing the same thing as managers come in.
“But I want people to understand this is North East Counties football and players do come and go and leave for more money.
“This is not the early 2000s any more when every single player was on contract and people had heroes as they stayed at the club for a sustained period of time.
“That was because they were on contract. The club can’t afford to pay contracts, so good players that come in get their heads turned by being offered a lot more money elsewhere.
“People have families and I can’t stand in their way.”
He added: “But the fans here are great – they keep this club alive and afloat.
“They are entitled to their opinion and we just need to get them all back onside by winning football games.
“I thought the lads worked really hard on Saturday. We were just missing that bit of a killer edge. Once we get the injured lads back we will be scoring a lot more freely.”
Hindley was happy to at least get a point on Saturday, saying: “I don’t think anyone would have predicted 70 per cent of the results on Saturday.
“This is silly season. You’ve got to remember these are not full time footballers and they don’t get paid a great deal of money.
“I think our lads worked hard and did okay.
“It can be a funny time of year so I’d have taken a point before the game purely based on injuries and new players we’d got coming in.
“The performance was far from the best of the season but I do think we probably deserved to nick it late on.”
Hindley was delighted to see young sub Matty Templeton come on and grab his first goal for Worksop Town to earn the draw.
The 21-year-old, who played two games for Barnsley’s first team, joined the Tigers last month and manager Hindley said: “He is a good local lad and he’s got some great ability.
“It’s my job and the club’s job to get the best out of him.
“We want to work with him, develop him, and keep him at this club for a long time.”
On Saturday’s return at Penistone, he added: “They don’t change very often – they have a good core of players who’ve been there a long time so we know all about them.
“We know they are big, strong and solid. They work really hard though there’s not a massive amount of quality.
“They are very hard to break down and we’re going to have to pull out all the stops to get a result.”