Jim Albans says there were plenty of positives to take from Belper Town’s first pre-season friendly of the summer.
Paul Lister put the Nailers ahead against a Derby County X1 before Phil Watt doubled the lead just after the break for the home side.
But the young Rams side, who benefitted from 11 changes at the break, responded through Caspar Peachneak’s brace as it finished 2-2.
And, having started their preparations for the 2015/16 season ten days previously, Albans was pleased with what he saw from his players.
He said: “It was a very good workout for both sides, played in the right atmosphere and to a good tempo. We’d had ten days training prior to the game and three sessions so to play the way we did on a warm night was pleasing.
“The lads have kept themselves in good shape - they know the type of pre-season we like to run and have come back prepared and eager to knuckle down. They have looked after themselves and it showed against a very good Derby side.
“It was a good test for us. The way they play, it’s very possession based, and it’s different to the type of football played in the Evo-Stik leagues. We knew it would be and told the players to keep their shape.
“We didn’t see a lot of the ball, they probably had somewhere between 60 and 70 per cent possession, but that was what we expected and we worked very hard in the final thirds to stop them from creating chances.
“They scored two goals but they didn’t really hurt us. We kept our shape well and always disappointed to concede. At the other end we scored two as well and it’s good not to get beaten in any game of football played.”
Albans has made no secret of the club’s aim to bounce straight back up to the Evo-Stik Premier Division and says the squad is coming together nicely.
“Having kept the nucleus of players from last season will benefit us,” he said. “Those players showed in the final month of the season, when we were already relegated, that they could compete in that division.
“The new lads have settled in well and I’m pleased with how they’ve adapted to things immediately. We are always looking to strengthen, if the right player became available at the right time then we would be interested.
“We have got a lot of good footballers already at the club and if I am to bring anyone in they will have to be of the standard to make us better. We’ve got good strength in depth, more or less two players for each position.
“The last thing we want is 11 players knowing they’re going to be in the team every Saturday. We want them to push each other on in a competitive environment and I know that whatever team I put out there will be a strong one.”
Belper are next in action on Tuesday (July 21) against Matlock Town at the Autoworld Arena.