Hadleigh United boss Ian Brown has warned the club could face another transitional year as they continue implementing a three-year plan.
Going into last season’s Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign as reigning champions, United failed to repeat their previous success as injuries and suspensions halted a promising start to the season to see them finish an under-whelming seventh.
And ahead of Saturday’s big kick-off against Walsham-le-Willows at home (3pm), Brown was quick to prevent expectations becoming too heightened for the coming campaign, focusing on the grand scheme and philosophy of the club as a whole rather than immediate on-field success.
“It would be lovely to say we will win the league but the emphasis for me is to help the players improve and enjoy what we do.” he explained.
“I never put too much emphasis on results because for us as a club it is about building something at Hadleigh as part of our three-year plan.
“Sometimes you have to take a step back to ultimately move forward. We are trying to build one philosophy throughout the club and it is coming together.
“We may have won the league the season before last but I believe we are in a transitional period and we have a different way of doing things.
“It may take some time but we will move this club forward in every aspect as a whole within three years.”
Despite his hesitation to put too much emphasis on achieving success, Brown has improved his squad’s depth, which had a major affect on their ability to compete last season.
As well as retaining the majority of last season’s squad, reinforcements have also been brought in including Anton Clarke (Whitton United), Joe Chester, Chris Williams, Ben Garnham (Stowmarket Town), Marley Spindler (Wivenhoe Town) and Ross Beech (Ipswich Wanderers).
And although the manager conceded he faces a fine balancing act to keep the harmony within his side, he believes his latest additions will easily integrate into the squad.
“Injuries and suspensions had a massive effect on the team last season and I wanted to make sure we had a better depth in the squad,” he added.
“I want us to be competitive but you have to be careful of bringing too many signings and disrupting things, it is a fine balancing act.
“It is about bringing in the right characters and I feel that is exactly what we have done.
“My philosophy will be to play a certain way, which will be possession football, and all the new signings fit into that way of thinking.”
n Hadleigh concluded their pre-season fixtures with a 4-0 win over AFC Sudbury Reserves on Tuesday courtesy of goals from Aaron Churchyard (two), Ryan Stafford and an own goal. The match was played in aid of the Rosa Simon Music Fund.