The new season is almost upon us and Christchurch Meadow is buzzing with excitement as manager Tommy Taylor takes his side to Newcastle Town for the opening fixture on Saturday.
Lots of hard work has been going on behind the scenes at Christchurch Meadow as Taylor and his assistant Jon Froggatt have been assembling a team they believe is capable of taking the Nailers to the next level.
Belper start the new campaign not only with fresh team management in place but there has been a significant change in the boardroom as well with out going chairman Phil Varney being replaced by Vaughan Williams at the end of last season.
Another significant change at senior level in the club is the appointment of Graham Hulland as Director of Football so the Nailers are in a position of strength both on and off the field for the forthcoming season,
Christchurch Meadow is also looking in great shape with the pitch looking in superb condition and the Church end of the ground boasting a brand new perimeter fence and two impressive steel access gates.
There ambitions of the Nailers chairman Vaughan Williams were clearly stated when he took office back in May, and the hiring of the former West Ham United defender Tommy Taylor as manager emphasised the vision he has for the club.
Taylor brings with him a wealth of experience at all levels of the game and the professionalism he has instilled into the playing staff in the pre-season activities suggests that the board have made an astute appointment.
The masterstroke of combining Taylor with last season’s top scorer Jon Froggatt was more by design than accident because the two had met before whilst at Boston United, but this may turn out to be more than a just happy coincidence for the Nailers.
The influence of the pairing have seen the recruitment of a blend of youth and experience most of whom are tried and trusted by Taylor or Froggatt, or indeed both.
Mark Camm, Tommy Hannigan and Alan O’Hare are expected to be regulars in the starting line up with Richard Adams a surprise favourite to start at right back.
Damien Magee has appeared frequently at left back in the pre-season games and recently released Ben Spargo from Burton Albion could be a surprise package in a striking role.
Lee Morris and Deon Meikle have impressed sufficiently to expect their names to be amongst the first on the team sheet and Spaniard Joaquim Ortuno or Purito as he will be known, has shown himself to be a talented player.
In addition to Richard Adams, players who have survived from last season include Jamie Smith, Andy Rushbury, Matty Thorpe, Liam Davis, Ruben Wiggins-Thomas and of course Jon Froggatt.
Luke Fedorenko is also expected to play a significant role in Taylor’s squad after impressing in training and in the first pre season game against Maltby, but he then suffered an injured ankle which has kept him out of action since.