Selston boss Craig Weston has been pleased with the response of his players to the start of their pre-season training, as they prepare for the rigours of Step 6 football.
Weston’s back-to-back Central Midlands Football League South Division champions will test themselves in the East Midlands Counties League Premier Division next season.
And they will not have long to wait for the big kick-off. The first round of fixtures are scheduled to be played on Saturday, July 29th and see Selston travel to Graham Street Prims.
“I’ve never known a league that kicks off in July,” said Weston. “It’s normally a week or more further on than that but that’s our start date. It means everyone has got to work a little harder in each session but we’re not complaining - we’ll be ready.
“I’ve been really pleased with the response to training so far. We’ve had a couple of good sessions, good numbers and we’re all buzzing for the season ahead. It’s a new league and a new set of teams, so it’s a bit of an unknown for us, but everyone will be on their mettle.”
As well as getting their boots on, the players have also taken part in an 87-mile bike ride to Skegness in an exercise to improve fitness, team spirit and the club’s facilities.
No less than 21 people set off, finished and returned - two of whom decided to cycle back, with the rest on the bus - in what Weston described as a “fantastic achievement”.
“Everyone did well and gave it everything they had,” he said. “We had a good day and good night out too. It’s everything rolled into one. To bike 87 miles is a feat in itself, it was a good team bonding session and we were raising money for the club.
“It was great and everyone enjoyed it - everyone was ready for a pint as well. It was part of our pre-season build up. We did it two years ago when we first got into the Central Midlands. The lads were buzzing after it so we thought we’d do it again.”
Selston have organised six pre-season friendlies set up over the coming weeks to help the players reach their pinnacle before taking on Graham Street Prims - and predominantly a step into the “unknown”.
Weston said: “Teams change from season to season so we can’t rely on what we’ve known from past experiences. I know it’s going to be a step up for us. There’ll be quite a considerable step up in terms of physical fitness and the amount of games we play.
“A squad will be very beneficial and it’s up to me to get everyone fit, fighting and ready to go.
“I’ve kept everyone together from last season and I’ve got one or two irons in the fire for this season. There are one or two that will be joining us. We don’t want too many. I don’t want to spoil the party for everyone who has got us this far. They deserve the chance to show what they can do at this next level.”