Alfreton Town boss looking for progression in new season
Alfreton Town boss Billy Heath refused to get carried away as the Reds completed a good pre-season with back-to-back wins over Burton Albion and Chesterfield.
Heath will lead his side at home against Kidderminster Harriers as the National League North season starts on Saturday.
That is followed by a Tuesday night trip to Brackley Town as the Reds face a tough start to the campaign.
Heath said: “Kidderminster are one of the teams you would expect to be knocking on the door and are promotion candidates. It is always going to be a difficult game against them.
“You know what to expect, although they have a different management team who will play a slightly different way.
“The first game of the season is always frenetic and 100mph. You want to get that first game under your belt and a win on the first day.
“Our first eight to 10 fixtures are difficult but you have to play everybody twice.
“It is a difficult start but we embrace it and we don’t have to fear anybody in this league.
“It is going to be a tight season. There are maybe 10 or 12 teams who have got a shout (of promotion).”
The Reds were boosted by a 2-0 victory over non-league newcomers Chesterfield after a 5-2 midweek success over Burton Albion.
Former Halifax Town manager Heath, appointed to replace Chris Moyes at the end of last season, remained pragmatic when asked his hopes for the new season.
“We are looking for progression from last season,” he said.
“It is a tough league and we have a really small squad, which will put pressure on us at times.
“We want to see an improvement from last year.
“Everybody wants a short-term fix but we just to need make sure that when the season finishes we have progressed.”
Talking about pre-season, Heath added: “It has been steady progress and that is what you need at this time of the season.
“(Chesterfield) was another excellent performance, from start to finish - all the things that we had been talking about (before the match) and trying to improve on from our previous fixture against Burton.
“It has moved us forward and we did really well.
“It is credit to the players. We have limited time to work with these boys as they are part-time, but there is a willingness to work hard and to take things on board.
“They are willing to listen to the ideas and when it bears fruit you are winning games.
“It is only pre-season and we have won any not winning points, but they can see how we want to play and carry it out.”
Strikers Tom Denton, in his second spell at the club after signing from Halifax, and Richard Peniket, who joined in the summer from Gateshead, netted against Chesterfield.
Heath said: “’Dents’ has scored over 20 goals a season in Conference North for a while and ‘Penny’ is flexible and scored goals in the Conference last year, although we are playing him in a slightly different role. They are both very good players.
“But (against Chesterfield) Tom Platt and Nathan Hotte in centre midfield were outstanding. Their performance was everything you need to allow other people to play.”
A trialist keeper who starred in the win over Chesterfield may join the club. Heath said: “We are looking to bring in one or two but it depends on finance. “The keeper did very well. He has been at good clubs for the last two or three years. We wanted to have a look at him and that is ongoing.”