Lowestoft Town getting squad in place for new season
Lowestoft Town director of football Craig Fleming has already begun plotting the club's promotion path for next season.
Along with the rest of the management team the former Norwich City defender is setting the building blocks in place to launch another assault on the Ryman League Premier and expects to have the bulk of the squad in place over the next couple of weeks.
Negotiations have been ongoing this week and the likes of Stuart Ainsley, Dale Cockrill, Greg Crane, Robert Eagle, Joe Francis and Adam Smith have committed their futures to the Crown Meadow outfit and others are expected to follow suit shortly. Chris Henderson, Jake Jessup, Erkan Okay, Andy Reynolds and Nathan Stone are still under contract.
'We are in the process of negotiating with the players and we want to make sure that we can go again next season,' said Fleming, whose side partially made up for play-off heartache by winning the Suffolk Premier Cup last Thursday.
'I'm pretty sure the squad will stay together – we are a close bunch and we want it to stay that way. Having a close knit group is key if you are going to be challenging at the top end of things.' Fleming admitted he is also on the lookout to strengthen the squad and hopes to have news of a new signing over the next week. The 40-year-old also revealed the club is trying to persuade Jamie Godbold to stay on in a coaching capacity.
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'We are talking to Jamie about bringing him on board in the management side of things. He is someone that's very important to this football club – I think he's only just behind Chappo in terms of being Mr Lowestoft. He is someone that players look up to and he is liked by everyone – we would love to get him on board. I don't think you can surround yourself with too many good people like that.'
Fleming is adamant the club will take the lessons learned from this season into the next having finished only three points behind champions Billericay Town.
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On too many occasions Lowestoft established a stranglehold on games before letting their often inferior opponents back into the contest.
'I think there were times this season when in games it almost because too easy for them and we took our foot off the pedal,' said Fleming. 'That's something we need to put right next season. Once we establish our dominance in a game it's vital we keep remembering to do the things that got us into that position. Once you're 3-0 or 4-0 you can bring out the expansive stuff.
'To use a boxer's analogy once you've got your opponent on the ropes it's important you finish the job off. Too often we gave teams a puncher's chance and sometimes they took it.
'On at least four occasions we lost points when we shouldn't have done and if we put that right then it will go a long way to getting us where we want to be.'