Alfreton Town manager Nicky Law declared himself delighted with his latest two new signings.
The Reds boss has brought in goalkeeper Ross Atkins from Derby County on a season-long loan and experienced central midfield player Tom Shaw on a two-year deal to take his total of new faces in summer so far to five.
“Obviously we were looking for a keeper after the departure of Phil Barnes. To be fair, there was not a great deal out there (for a permanent signing). The other option was to look for a good, long loan deal and Ross certainly fits the bill, particularly in terms of the locality of everything,” said Law.
“He has had a season-and-a-half at Burton Albion recently and did very well while he was there. He is a good signing for us.
“Jordan Pickford was a very difficult one to replace, but Ross will come in and give us a good option. It is an important position to fill, and having seen the impact young Jordan had last season, we realised it was one we had to get right.
“With us reverting to part-time this season, Ross will continue to train with Derby and come to us on our training nights. It is obviously good from his perspective because he is going to come in and get games. It is good for us because we have a quality keeper with plenty to prove and it is good for Derby, who can get him out playing competitive football.”
Law’s plans to build a squad that is both hungry and yet experienced took another big step forwards with the signing of Shaw.
“All of the signings that have come in, Bradley Wood, Michael Wylde, Kristian Ramsey-Dickson, Atkins and Shaw are of a good age that we are looking for. They have still got youth on their side, but have got good experience at this level and yet are still coming into their best footballing years.
“Tom has played well over 100 Conference Premier Division games. Again he is a good age, he knows the level and has good experience. He is another one who probably has his best years in front of him and he is another very good addition,” added the Reds manager.
Law also thinks that it has been a wise decision to take his time and wait for the right players to bolster what was already a proven squad.
He added: “It is ironic really, you look at the fact that we have had the budget cut by 25 per cent and I know that some people were wondering what was going to happen and what we were going to do.
“There was not a lot of movement early on, but it has been worth waiting and being patient. The players we have brought in are hungry players and good signings. I am really pleased with them and I honestly think we are in front compared to where we were at this stage last season.
“We have had to manoeuvre and have a strategy on who we could let go to see who we could get in. It just shows it is not all about having the most money. It helps, don’t get me wrong – but you have to have a plan and it is a patience game.
“I think we have got it right. We have kept the best ones from last year, added good quality, and another three or four more signings and we will be ok.”
“Yes, money is at a premium, but I think we have managed it exceptionally well. We are all working hard at establishing ourselves at this level and it is important to stabilise the club every step of the way. We have to get the best out of the players we bring in and hopefully our fans can see that we are doing that.
“But, it speaks volumes for us that we are now attracting and obtaining the calibre of players we have signed this summer.”
This Saturday, the Reds begin their pre-season friendlies campaign with a tough, yet very tasty-looking home clash against Championship side Birmingham City at the Impact Arena.
Nicky Law is expecting a difficult game with it coming after just four training sessions for his side.
“We are obviously delighted to welcome Lee Clark’s first team to our home. It is a first pre-season outing for both clubs and hopefully there will be a good crowd with plenty of Blues supporters wanting to come and see their new signings as well.
“Results are important, but after just four training sessions, they will obviously be fitter and keep the ball longer and it will be a tough game for us.
“We have to get out of it what we want to. We are looking at a new group of players, how they get on together, find formations, and trial, but for the best part of this first game, it is looking for fitness levels.
“It is going to be tough for some of our lads because they are not going to have the match fitness and some of them will only get 45 or 60 minutes under their belts but we will ease them in like that.
“We have only 14 players signed so far, but will have four or five trialists as well which will help us get our way through the game” ended Law.
The Birmingham City game kicks-off at 3pm and the fixture will see segregation in place. Blues fans should access the Impact Arena via the Alma Street away turnstiles only and Alfreton fans should use the North Street turnstiles.
Admission for the game, as with all home pre-season friendlies this summer, is £10 for adults and £5 for concession – under-16 and over-65s.