The signing of defender James Clifton this week has edged Alfreton Town boss Billy Heath closer to his ideal squad of 18 quality players.
New boss Heath made a decision to go with quality rather than quantity as he rebuilds the Reds’ squad for their forthcoming National League North campaign and expects two more new faces this week to all but complete his player hunt.
Heath said: “We have one or two we are hoping to get in this week and hopefully we can get them over the line. Talks are ongoing.
“We are almost there now. We have 15 signed so we are not far off where we want to be.
“Ideally you’d have a squad of 20 but that’s not going to happen here. We will have 18 - maybe 19 – to fit in with the budget here.
“It is a small squad for the level but it will be full of quality.
“It was a conscious decision we made rather than having 20/21 players. I’d rather go with 18 quality players.
“We know we are going to have to be fortunate with injuries and if we have three or four out at once it would make life difficult – but we’re hoping that won’t happen.”
Boston United right back Clifton is the latest to sign for the new season and Heath said: “I have known James for a few years now at Nuneaton and Boston and at this level he is very experienced, even though he’s only 25 or 26. He is very solid and can defend really, really well but he also has a lot of quality on the ball.
“He had a fantastic season at Boston last season.”
Alfreton begin their pre-season friendlies next Tuesday (3rd July) away at Carlton Town and Heath said: “We came back for pre-season training last Saturday as we are mindful our first game is next Tuesday.
“Thankfully everyone came back in good shape. They have all been given individual programmes to follow – both with gym work and nutrition. Being a part-time club, players have to do some some themselves away from us.
“But not one of them came back in looking a bit heavy or out of shape.”