FOOTBALL: Welcome to the first of two summer specials of the column, with another to follow at the end of July before we revert back to the regular weekly slot in August, writes Mark Hearle.
I had an email from someone who began by saying: “I hope you’re enjoying a slightly quieter spell now that the season has finished.” That assumption was well wide of the mark!
The close season is in many ways busier than the main body of the season. With a very short gap between seasons, the days seem to be morphing into one.
I have seen comments from a few people concerned at the apparent lack of transfer activity following the arrivals of Ethan Coleman, Paul Jones and Munashe Sundire a while ago.
Recruitment is very much a work in progress with the start of the season proper less than two months away.
Manager Ian Culverhouse and director of football Rob Back have been speaking to several potential targets ever since the season finished and are more than likely weighing up various options before committing to bringing someone in.
There is no race to complete the side and just being a little cautious at present will do no harm. Overall there hasn’t been that much activity for any of our National League rivals although that will change over the coming weeks.
One player who has agreed a return is full back Aaron Jones, who signed a deal last week. He missed much of last season with two injuries and also suffered from Covid. He probably will not be ready for the start of the new season but will not be too far away if his rehabilitation continues as it is at present.
The line up for next season’s National League was finally determined last weekend with Hartlepool United gaining promotion back to the Football League following a penalty shoot-out win over Torquay United to join champions Sutton United at the higher level in August.
It means we have not lost the long trip to Torquay for the 2021/22 season but the Tuesday evening trip to Hartlepool has gone, being replaced with Southend United and Grimsby Town, which isn’t too bad a swap!