West Wratting’s new player-manager Michael Shinn says he is under no pressure to achieve any pre-determined targets next season.
The former Haverhill Rovers player-manager, whose tenure at The New Croft ended in mid-February, was announced as the new man in charge at Bull Lane on May 11.
Since then he has been sorting out his first team squad ahead of their first pre-season friendly, away at Earls Colne on Saturday (3pm), as they build up toward the new Kershaw Premier season.
Shinn said: “I’m confident that the boys that have said they are staying and the boys that have said they are coming will be here.
“I’m really pleased with the squad we’ve got, although obviously Danny (Hill) is going to be a big loss for us.”
Goalscorer Hill last week joined Haverhill Rovers after eight seasons and 198 goals in 214 appearances for Wratting.
A number of the players who finished last season at Wratting have stayed on, including a smattering who previously played for Shinn at Haverhill Rovers, such as skipper Riki Baker, Martyn Farrant and Simon Newnes, together with last season’s second-top goalscorer Callum Harrison, Daryl Gritton, Jon Welsh, Adam Murphy, Roger Dourado, Tom Day and Alex Clark.
Defender Ian Bluett is returning to Wratting, the club he left to join Rovers in early February before then moving on to Haverhill Borough, where he ended the season.
Two other players Shinn had at Rovers, full-back Blake Kicks and former Haverhill Borough forward Charlie Sigler (who has been away travelling for a few months) are also linking up with their erstwhile manager, while Rovers U-18 defender Ellis Whiffen is also switching to Bull Lane.
Another ex-Rover, utility player Ty Alleyne, will also start the season with Wratting before departing for university.
Shinn admits he is likely to lose last season’s top-scorer Shaun Avis, who bagged 31 goals in 27 appearances, and he has definitely lost Hill, midfielder Stuart Kingham and goalie Tom Coombe, who has gone to Haverhill Borough.
Having expressed his satisfaction with the squad, Shinn can now look forward to the challenge knowing he is under no heavy weight of expectation.
“Wratting are a club that wants to be at the top end of the league whenever possible but I’m under no pressure to achieve that.
“What I’ve been told is to make the club a family club where people enjoy coming to play and coming to watch and bringing their kids to watch and once we create that we can see how far that can take us.
“Obviously I want to win more games than lose, that goes without saying.
“I think top eight will be achievable. I don’t know the level (of the league) that’s why I’ve got people like Bav and Duff (assistant coaches Michael Bavester and Barry Duffy) and why keeping people like Roger (Dourado) and Riki Baker, who know the level more than anyone, is key.
“Realistically, looking at players like myself and Roger we are not going to be playing 40 games a season so we are going to need to get a bigger squad so we can allow for that.”
Having initially ended last season in fifth-place, Wratting were docked three points by the league for fielding an ineligible player in their 2-1 win at Wisbech St Mary on April 20, which saw them drop to eighth place in the final standings.