Hucknall Town boss Andy Graves says he’s in no way concerned despite the Yellows losing their first pre-season friendly heavily on Wednesday night.
The home game with Staveley Miners Welfare ended in a 7-1 defeat, the visitors playing a level higher than Graves’ side.
But the Yellows manager felt there were plenty of mitigating circumstances as to why the game panned out as it did.
He said: “I’m not concerned, we created plenty of chances and looked good at times.
“I felt we were victims of two very soft penalty decisions either side of half-time but as well as that, we had several players still on holiday, a good few trialists on show and had to make a lot of changes in the second-half.
“So it was a case of us needing to be a bit sharper at times - two of their goals came from us not reacting quick enough to shots tipped onto the bar - but that will come as we play more games.”
Hucknall will travel to play BetVictor NPL South East side Carlton Town on Saturday, a club managed by former Hucknall boss Tommy Brookbanks.
And Graves expects another tough but useful test.
He said: “I don’t see the point in playing so-called easy games in pre-season where you’re able to rack up 5-0 or 6-0 wins, which is why we usually have really tough pre-seasons against sides that will actually improve you.
“I learned far more from Wednesday night than I would from a game we’d win comfortably.
“Carlton will be different to Staveley in that I don’t think I’ll take as many players, plus they will be an even better side from two levels higher than ourselves.
“If anything, the Staveley result got everyone’s feet back on the ground a bit after the way we almost coasted at times last season, so we’ll perhaps be a bit more focused from here on in.”
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Graves says he will continue to run the rule over some trialists as he builds a squad capable of competing in the East Midlands Counties League.
He said: “We don’t have a budget, so can’t spend some of the eye-watering amounts I see others I see spending at our level, but that’s down to the future of the club needing to be safe which I’m sure anyone who saw what happened here before will be assured by.
“So we have a bonus scheme in place but that’s about it, and only of any use if we win, so that means we’re recruiting players who just want to play and help our cause.
“There are a few irons in the fire and a few existing players still to return from holidays.”