DAVE McGurk believes Hyde United’s squad will be further on because of the two curtailed seasons they have been through.
For unlike many years when plenty of chopping and changing has gone on, things will be relatively settled.
“The main aim was keeping the majority of the players, which verbally we’ve done,” explained McGurk.
“We’re in a better place than we were last year, which was a better place than we were in the year before.”
Keeping hold of Tom Pratt, who has signed a new contract for the forthcoming campaign, was the first item on his agenda.
McGurk said: “It was pretty obvious that Tom had a lot of interest, so we had to move quickly to try and get him tied down.
“He’s our captain, you could say he’s been our star man for the last two or three seasons. The fans love him, and he’s a big part of the club.
“He wanted to stay and he’s a huge signing for us. Pratty is a leader, so he was the one we wanted to get done first.”
And manager McGurk believes the unity gathered through lockdowns and being off the field could play a part, while also hoping to keep Liam Tongue.
He said: “Liam wants to stay but I’ve told him I’m not expecting a commitment from him immediately as he will get offers from higher up.
“He’s been made an offer and fingers crossed he’ll be with us.”
McGurk, who has agreed a similar budget to last season, has plans to bring in new players.
He explained: “I’m hoping to add three or four. I’m back with that full-time football head on, where I’ve got to start speaking to players and agents.
“Everything’s been done that bit earlier, though, as we’ve had that much time off.
“We could be starting with a 16 or 17-man squad from players who were here last season, then we’ll add players on to that.
“But the majority will have already been here and will now how we work, so we won’t have to bed that in.
“You’ve got to be careful when you bring new players in. You can spend all your budget doing that then players may become available.
“It’s finding the balance between players you really want then seeing what’s out there and getting value for money, which is a big part of what we have to do.
“You find a lot of trialists at clubs in National League North and above drop out later on. We’ve done a lot of our business in the last couple of weeks of pre-season.
“I’ve sat down with the board about my budget. I’m never happy but we’re working on similar lines to last season, which I appreciate because I know it’s difficult times.”
June 15 is the date when players will be back in for pre-season training – with two weeks of light workouts before things really get started on June 29.
Several pre-season fixtures have already been arranged for the Ewen Fields side ahead of their Northern Premier League tilt.
Hyde will again structure their pre-season matches, with fixtures against teams in leagues above and below, hopefully including one big local team.