UTTOXETER Town have begun adding to their backroom staff as they look to become the fittest team in the newly-formed Midland Football League next season.
Mark Grimley’s side were promoted from the Staffordshire County Senior League this campaign, and have been told with “99.9 per cent” certainty that they will compete in the old Midland Combination next season, rather than the East Midlands Counties League or the North-West Counties League.
The Midland Combination and Midland Alliance have been merged to form the Midland Football League Premier Division and Division One – with Town in the latter – something about which boss Grimley was very pleased.
“It’s exciting times for the club,” he said.
“We’ve not had an official letter from the FA but we have had dialogue with the Midland Combination themselves to say we’ve been accepted.
“I’d say it’s 99.9 per cent certain, so barring disasters, we’ll be there, which I’m really pleased with as that was my choice.”
Grimley has brought in goalkeeping coach Paul Wood and fitness coach Luke Ede in preparation for next season.
“Paul has come in as a massive coup for our football club,” said the Town boss.
“He was a fantastic goalkeeper at Rocester and he is already devising pre-season programmes.
“We have also got a strength and fitness guy in Luke Ede, who came in around March and has done a few fitness sessions.
“His plan is to come on board fully for pre-season, and he has the same kind of belief that we have.
“We approached Luke as we knew of his skills, and his professionalism is second to none.
“He is a specialist in that field and will have new ideas, as things have changed from when Andy (assistant Andy O’Connor) was playing, and certainly from when I was playing.
“He will test the players’ fitness once a fortnight and we will have him in three times a week during pre-season.
“We have sent players away with a fitness pack from Luke which we expect them to work towards.
“If they haven’t done it, we will know.
“It’s important to be as fit as we can and as motivated as we can.
“We want to be the fittest team in the league.”
Grimley knows he will need to strengthen the playing side of things as well after turning up to some games with only one or two substitutes last season, and has begun that process.
He is also keen to have the options available to freshen the squad up if needed, to avoid any hubris in the squad.
“We are putting things into place already for next season,” he said.
“The last four or five games of this season we were going into games with just 12 or 13 players, and it was the same with our reserve team.
“So we want competition for places.
“When we went through our blip, a bit of complacency set in, which we tried to stamp out, but it was difficult to nip it in the bud when we hadn’t got the personnel to change things around.
“We know where we’ve got to strengthen and it’s something we’re putting into place now.
“The football doesn’t stop – as soon as we finished the last game of the season we were looking to start planning for next season.”