John Beck believes he could still be recruiting players for Kettering Town this time next year.
It is proving to be another challenging summer at Nene Park as the Poppies boss looks to put a squad together on limited funds with the start of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division season now less than two weeks away.
Kettering’s preparations have been hampered by a five-year ban from football activity imposed on George Rolls, who had seemed destined to complete a takeover of the club, by the Football Association.
But Beck has continued to hold trials days in an attempt to attract fresh blood and, at the last count, now has 10 players on the books for the new campaign., which will see the Poppies start with a 10-point deduction after they entered a Company Voluntary Arrangement to clear their debts of £1.2m
However, he has again re-iterated the long-term vision he has for the Poppies.
“As I have said before, we will still recruiting this time next year,” Beck said.
“I always knew this was going to be a long-term project and it has been extremely tough in these early stages.
“But we are getting there.
“We have players on board and we have ones who look like coming in, although some need international clearance.
“That is another challenge for our people behind the scenes but this is a collective effort and we are all working extremely hard.”
The Poppies were beaten 5-3 at home by Grantham Town in a pre-season friendly on Saturday and take on a Northampton Town XI in their next outing at Nene Park on Thursday night.
And Beck praised the work ethic of his contracted players, most of whom featured in the first half at the weekend as the Poppies took a 2-1 lead at the break.
“We did okay and were 2-1 up with most of our contracted players on the pitch,” he added.
“We had more trialists to look at and changed the whole team and our opponents took advantage of that.
“But I can’t speak highly enough of the lads who are with us.
“They are working extremely hard for us. They are doing double sessions and they are learning all the time.”
The clash with the Cobblers on Thursday kicks off at 7.30pm and admission is £10 for adults and concessions and £1 for under-16s.
Adult season tickets holders from both clubs will be admitted for £5 if they show their valid 2012-13 season ticket at the turnstiles.