Gary Petts is excited about what might lie ahead for Wellingborough Town this season.
The experienced manager has taken charge at the Dog & Duck with Joe Rich being installed as his player-assistant.
The Doughboys are gearing up for an early start to the new Future Lions United Counties League Premier Division campaign as they host Peterborough Northern Star on Sunday (10.45am) as part of the annual Groundhop Weekend which kicks off the season.
And Petts is determined to help Wellingborough build ‘one club’ which he hopes will give some of the youngsters there a chance to move on into the the reintroduced reserve team and beyond.
“The club have brought back a reserve team and that’s great because it gives us the perfect stepping stone from the under-18s,” Petts said.
“There have been some good players in the youth team here, some of whom have left but now we have a pathway from youth football into the reserves and then into the first-team.
“We have had a 17-year-old heavily involved in pre-season and a couple of 18-year-olds playing as well.
“As far as I am concerned, if they are good enough they are old enough.
“We have three teams but we are one club and that’s what we want to build here.
“I am pleased to be taking it on and I was delighted to be able to appoint Joe Rich as the assistant-manager because he is one of the most respected players in the UCL.
“It’s been a case of reshaping the club but we are really excited about it.”
The Groundhop Weekend has normally helped clubs involved to attract a big crowd to kick-off the new season, although the early start means a change in approach when it comes to pre-season.
And Petts added: “I was involved in a couple of the Groundhop Weekends when I was at Thrapston Town and it all comes down to the luck of the draw.
“We are happy to have a home game and hopefully we will attract a decent crowd.
“Being involved in it meant an early start for pre-season in the middle of June but the numbers have been good and we have been able to steady the ship and keep the majority of the squad together.
“We have had some tough games during pre-season but hopefully they will stand us in good stead for what we have in front of us.”