Belper Town boss Grant Black closing in on long-term transfer target ahead of pre-season kick-off

Belper town v Stocksbridge Park Steels. Saturday 9th March. Belper Town manager Grant Black.
Belper town v Stocksbridge Park Steels. Saturday 9th March. Belper Town manager Grant Black.

Belper Town are close to making a signing that boss Grant Black would consider the final piece of the 2019/20 puzzle.

The midfielder, who can play centre-half, has been on Black’s radar for months and although a deal initially looked unlikely this summer, the door has opened for Belper.

“I said last week that if everything stayed as it was we’d be happy, but if something came up we couldn’t turn that’d be a different story,” said Black.

“We’ve been trying to get a player in pretty much since midway through last season, but he didn’t want to leave where he was at that time.

“We thought he was going to sign where he was for this season as well, but I had a call yesterday and he is going to be coming to us.

“We’ll be able to put it out there pretty sharpish.

“He definitely would be the final piece to it, he’s someone we’ve wanted for a long time.”

Beyond that, Black will keep an open mind when it comes to further additions, although he he’s more than satisfied with the squad he’s put together this summer.

“Through pre-season there are a few trialists coming down, released by Mansfield and a few full-time clubs around the area,” he said.

“If one comes in and puts himself in the shop window we’d be daft to say we wouldn’t take them on.

“At this moment in time we’re happy with what we’ve got.”

The Nailers return to the training ground on Saturday, with sessions Black and his coaching staff have been preparing since the end of last season.

He wants to give his players a ‘base fitness’ and then target match fitness with ball work and game scenarios.

And while he’s well aware fitness work isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, he believes the hard yards now will pay off next season.

“We try and make them as professional and enjoyable as we can.

“Some people are really good at running and enjoy it, some don’t and find it difficult.

“I was one of the latter, I found it tough.

“In this league and up to the Conference North a lot of games are won and lost in the last 10 minutes when fitness really does kick in and lads can switch off if they’re tired.

“Leagues and games are won at this level in regards to fitness.

“If you can be a little bit fitter and stronger than teams at this level, it can contribute to picking up quite a lot of points.

“There will be certain lads I don’t expect to finish level with others in the runs, but I know what is their maximum and I’ll know if they’re not hitting those targets.

“We expect everyone to produce the best they can, but understand some are not as fit as others and are never going to be.

“Some are not as technical as others, but I think they need to all do the same thing at the same time and get their own maximum from every session.”

Black welcomes the chance to work with his players again now that the vast majority of his summer recruitment work is behind him.

“I had a couple of weeks to recharge but then it’s been getting the squad together.

“I can’t wait to get back on the field and put the phone away, concentrate on football things.

“We feel confident.

“If we can have a good start we should be right up there.”