Louth Town assistant manager Carl Forman is backing his side to improve on last year’s club record 3rd placed finish in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League Division One.
The White Wolves number two believes the management team has made ‘slight improvements in every area’ and believes the team can meet the challenge of clubs raising their game against them this time around.
Manager Daryl Clare’s men kick off their season with a local derby at last year’s 4th placed finishers Cleethorpes Town on Saturday, and Forman insists the players are ready for the challenge despite describing the opener as ‘the most difficult a game as we could have envisaged’.
“We’ve worked on a few areas and we’ve got steadily better, the desire of the players is increasing all the time,” Forman told the Leader.
“In terms of our pre-season we’ve had a lot of games against good sides, we’ve beaten teams from levels above and below and we’ve competed well.
“I think we’ve made slight improvements in every area and players have given myself and Daryl plenty to think about both in terms of the starting 11 and the squad.”
Forman and manager Clare took over the team in June last year and together have started to re-shape Louth Town, bringing the highest league finish in the club’s finish and a League Cup final in their first season thanks in part to 28-goal striker Matt Kennedy.
But Town’s pre-season ended prematurely with a 2-1 home defeat to Grimsby Town last week, as their weekend visit to South Normanton was cancelled, but that doesn’t dampen Forman’s enthusiasm.
“We’ve got, in my view, a better squad in some areas than we did last year and we’re looking further to improve to make us as strong if not stronger, than last year,” he said.
“What we’ve had is a lot of games to build the lads’ fitness up to make sure we start the new season the way we finished the last which was really strong, consistent, and playing good football.
“We’ve lost a couple of players over the close season but we’ve got some great young players at this club and in some respects they could be new players to us.
“We’ve brought in two or three news lads, Danny Webb and a couple of lads from Cleethorpes and Grimsby like Mark Sawyer, a left back, and we’re hopefully close to signing another Grimsby lad.”
Forman insists Town can compete with the league’s best again this season, using league champions Albion Sports as a prime example.
“At the end of the season we won 15 out of 17 games. Any team would be pleased with that form and we fully deserved to finish where we finished in the league,” he said.
“I would take Albion Sports as an example, who won the league, we went there on the first day and how we weren’t five or six goals up at half-time I don’t know.
“They came here in January and we beat them comfortably and took four points off the champions.
“That shows we’re more than capable of competing with the best teams in the league.
“Teams are going to want to raise their game against us and it’s down to Daryl and myself and the players to deal with that.”
But Forman believes Town are at a disadvantage compared with many of their regional opponents when it comes to attracting new players.
“When you look at teams in the Yorkshire area their catchment areas are a lot bigger and there are bigger clubs that will let them have players on loan.
“Unfortunately we’re a little bit out on a limb and we only have a limited area where we can pool players from, but what we can offer is the chance to play football in an environment where they can play with complete freedom.”
And the Town assistant boss has called on the people of Louth to get down to Park Avenue and support the team this season, after some disappointing gates last campaign.
He said: “Ultimately the future of the club will be dictated by the fans and how many come and watch us, I’d hope that the way we play football and the way we conduct ourselves is also going to give people the right impression.
“There’s some really talented players at this level and it is a good standard of football.”
Town kick off at Cleethorpes Town this Saturday (3pm) and host Knaresborough Town at Park Avenue on Wednesday night, August 14, at 7.45pm.