Hemel Hempstead Town boss Jones happy to take his time

Mark Jones insists Hemel Hempstead Town won’t be “held to ransom” as he looks to build his squad for the 2022/23 Vanarama National League South campaign.

Monday, 20th June 2022, 12:12 pm
Updated Monday, 20th June 2022, 12:12 pm
Goalkeeper Craig King is one of the players to have been retained by Hemel Hempstead Town this summer. Picture courtesy of Hemel Hempstead Town FC
Goalkeeper Craig King is one of the players to have been retained by Hemel Hempstead Town this summer. Picture courtesy of Hemel Hempstead Town FC

Jones has already enjoyed a productive summer with players being retained, the latest of which was top scorer Charlee Hughes, as well as new signings arriving.

But boss Jones believes his work to build a “competitive squad” will continue into pre-season.

The Tudors manager feels he has a budget good enough to give him a group of players that will compete well at Step 2 next season.

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However, he insists the expectations of some players are “a bit unrealistic” in the early stages of the summer.

“It’s a difficult time of the year when the season finishes,” Jones said.

“There’s a lot of negotiations with players and there is an awful lot of discussion and sometimes it doesn’t always lead to something which can be frustrating.

“And, at times, you feel you aren’t moving as quickly as you’d like to.

“We do have to be patient and wait for the right players to become available.

“In the initial part of the closed season, I do feel the players’ expectations and demands are a bit unrealistic.

“While we have a competitive budget for next year, we don’t want to be held to ransom by players demanding unrealistic figures.

“It’s a bit of a waiting game at times but we are hoping to get more key players signed up and we will continue to work to attract the right lads to the club.

“But it’s not easy at this time of year.

“Some have moved on but my job is to make sure that come August 6 we have a squad that is competitive and I think that process will be ongoing right through pre-season.

“We understand we aren’t going to be in the top six budgets. It is competitive but we have to make sure we use it wisely.”

Retaining the services of striker Hughes is the latest piece of good news for Jones who has also kept the likes of Craig King, Jack Westbrook, David Saunders and Kyle Ajayi at Vauxhall Road.

He has also added new signings in the form of former Woking and Wealdstone midfielder Godfrey Poku, who played under Jones at Oxford City, Jordy Mongoy and Ryan Hope.