Worksop Town return to training as new era dawns

Craig Denton says he’s been pleased with the progress made so far as Worksop Town prepare for life in the Evo-Stik League.

Denton welcomed his players back for pre-season training on Tuesday night, with the emphasis on both fitness and fun for those attending the session at Worksop College.

And the Tigers boss is keen to keep the balance right as he plots the club’s new adventure.

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He said: “It was the first time we had them all in together and it’s great to be able to use the superb facilities at Worksop College.

“One or two are still away but we’ll be in three times a week initially as we prepare for the first friendly at Bridlington on July 6.

“It’s been a lot about fitness but we’re keen to get the football involved too and for the players to enjoy themselves.

“We do things very professionally, and my assistant Rob Poulter is an A licence coach who puts on some great sessions that make it interesting for the players.

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“So will continue along those lines but we must be ready for some tough pre-season tests ahead.”

Denton says he is not a manager who likes to have numerous trialists on show during pre-season but is still hopeful of adding to his squad.

He said: “Having big numbers in pre-season is counter-productive and I’d much rather work with around 25 or 26, including some of the youth players who could find themselves staking a claim for the first team.

“I’d then like to have about 20 or so to choose from to give us good options once the season starts and to allow for injuries, suspensions and holidays as and when they occur.”

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As for the makeup of his squad, Denton knows the balance of experience at both higher and lower levels will be important.

He said: “The lads that got us promoted deserve the chance to shine at the higher level and will get that.

“But we’re also keen to bring in proven NPL players.

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“I’m talking to players all the time but they have to be the right fit for us.”

With Denton able to utilise the loan market for the first time now the club is at step four of the pyramid, he says he may dabble with the options available but only if it will benefit Worksop on all levels.

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He said: “It’s something I’m not familiar with but we have good contacts at places like Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United and Rotherham and if it’s felt giving any of their players game time here would help both parties, then as long as it can work out financially, we’ll look into it if required.

“Likewise, with Northern Counties East League clubs now able to loan too, we may use that to give some of our younger players games back at step five, or do the same on a dual registration basis.

“Sometimes with loan players you can have them for a couple of games, they do really well and then get recalled, which isn’t ideal for continuity, but we’ll assess things as we go along.”