David Bell has been stepping up his work in the transfer market this week as he looks to rebuild at Corby Town.
The Steelmen are facing up to life at Step Four following a second relegation in as many years and they are set to be in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South next season.
Bell was appointed as the club’s new manager shortly after last season ended, having been assistant to Gary Mills in the previous campaign while also playing a key role on the pitch.
His immediate task was to try to retain as many of last season’s squad as possible and he has confirmed “five or six” have now committed for the next campaign.
But a reduction in the playing budget has left others outside of his price range.
However, Bell is already lining up fresh signings as he bids to bring some happier times to Steel Park after a tough couple of years.
“I have had five or six of last season’s squad who have committed to the club so that’s good,” the Corby boss said.
“But, with the budget being reduced to be in line with the level we are at, it means that I simply can’t afford some of the other lads.
“We made offers to Aaron Brown, Ben Milnes, Phil Trainer and Steven Leslie, but it doesn’t look like they will be taking them.
“It’s a difficult one because I still think Corby Town is as big as any club in the level above with the facilities we are able to offer but some lads want to try to stay at a higher level, which is understandable.
“I just hope they end up at clubs that are hoping to go places in the future because that’s certainly the sort of club we are.
“But, on the positive side, I have spoken to a lot of other players and we are having meetings this week to let them have a look around the stadium.
“It’s disappointing that we won’t be able to keep all of the squad together but the work has started to make sure things look bright for us.”
Bell has also made an addition to his backroom staff with Kevin Ward joining the club as first-team coach alongside the manager and assistant Rob Gould.
“Kev was at Stamford when I was there last year and he went to Spalding United who finished in the play-offs,” Bell added.
“He has a very good understanding of the division we are going into. Add that to the knowledge that Rob and I have and I think we have a very strong management team in place.
“Kev played for five years at Barnsley, he’s been in the professional game and that experience will be vital for us.”
Corby’s under-18 team, meanwhile, won the Northants Senior League play-off last night (Wednesday).
The Steelboys, who won the league’s East Division were up against West Division winners Wellingborough Town at Raunds Town’s Kiln Park ground.
Jason Smith put Corby in front before the Doughboys hit back to lead 2-1.
But Adam Frisch stuck a free-kick in the top corner to draw the Steelboys level before Smith scored the winner with three minutes to go.