Just a few short weeks ago, even the most diehard of fans must have viewed the upcoming season with some degree of trepidation.
Following the FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium, the exodus which ensued not only depleted a pretty successful team, but also elicited serious questions from many fans regarding what caused it.
These questions tended to centre on the roles of Owner Amar AlKhadi, as well as that of Chairman Mark Blower. At one stage, it seemed like each time I switched my computer on someone else had left – usually to Chester!
Mitch Hancox bless him, was for some considerable time the only player that we had signed up for the new season – such was the scale of the departures.
Fast forward a few weeks and do you know what? I really do think that we have a competitive squad in place, and dare I say it, one which I think is actually better than the one we had twelve months ago.
How Sir John does it I will never know, and special mention has to be given to Steve Watson, as it is clear that he had a massive influence on some of the players we have brought in.
Shwan Jalal is a very welcome return in goal, and although Askey must be on the hunt for a reserve ‘keeper, I think that we have all seen the calibre of player which he is looking at when considering Alex Gogic’s tremendous first half display against Derby last week.
In defence we have made some really classy acquisitions joining Mr Dependable George Pilkington. Jared Hodgkiss and Keith Lowe will bring experience to the back line whilst Kieran Kennedy and Josh Thompson give us some brute strength and youth to complement it.
Not forgetting one player who I thought was unlucky not to pick up the Player of the Year Award last year – that being David Fitzpatrick.
The midfield now looks a really strong balance of experience and pace, led by the legend that is Danny Whitaker.
After spending weeks all on his lonesome, Mitch Hancox will be joined by the tenacious Courtney Richards and Noe Baba who signed on from Birmingham City this afternoon.
In addition to this, we have the pace to destroy any defence in this league with Ryan Lloyd, Scott Burgess and Elliott Durrell – all of whom are capable of weighing in with their fair share of goals too!
Up front, ok yes I accept that at the minute we do look a bit short, but Scott Wilson and Tyrone Marsh are have great potential at this level and they also have youth on their side. It is a well known fact that Sir John is after a big experienced striker to compliment them, and I have no doubt that one will be snapped up before August 5th.
So all in all, I think that there is much to look forward to. In a matter of weeks we have gone from wondering if we are going to have a team at all, to one which I for one think will be challenging at the right end of the table come the end of April.
Hopefully I won’t have jinxed the team for tomorrow with this, but whatever happens I think that we have an exciting season before us.
What are your thoughts ahead of the big kick-off? Let us know on our brand new SLE Forum here
(Featured image courtesy of Chelsie Wilson)