FRESH from a summer break and inspired by the European Championships, Tigers defender Luke Shiels was surrounded by new faces at the first training session of pre-season on Saturday.
Shiels is the longest serving Worksop Town player in the squad, having made 112 appearances since signing in the 2009/10 season.
After a mad dash from the airport on Saturday morning he joined in with his new team-mates at Manton Athletic Club, as Tigers begin their preparations for the new campaign.
The 22-year-old told the Guardian: “I got back off holiday, landing about 10am at East Midlands and then made it to Worksop for the final hour of the session.”
“There were a lot of new faces at training. It’s early days, but I recognised a lot of the players from playing against them in the league.”
Looking around at the club’s new-look squad, Shiels believes the management team of Simon Clark and Dave Frecklington have added an ingredient that was lacking last season.
“The gaffer and Frecks are hoping to push for the play-offs this season and I think we could have done with a couple more leaders, especially with losing Cotty (James Cotterill), he was a big player,” he said.
“It’s hard to tell anything about a player from all the running, it’s when the friendlies start that you get to know what kind of player they are.”
“But it looks like with the new signings we’ve gone for a bit of experience, which is what we needed. It’s good to be back and I’m looking forward to the first friendly on Saturday – watching the Euros made me want to play football again.”
Set to begin his fourth season with Worksop, Shiels is a rare breed in today’s non league, with a high turnover of playing staff each season.
But he insists he’s content at Sandy Lane and ready for another run at promotion.
“It’s a good club to be at.”
“I get on well with everyone, always have, the players, staff, people behind the scenes and the fans have always been great.”
“I’m happy here, so why not sign a two-year contrac and stay?”