COTTESMORE boss Steve Duffy hopes to keep the core of his squad next season when the Rogues Park side will aim to bounce back to the Leicestershire Senior League’s Premier Division.
Despite a improved run of form towards the season’s end, including 2-2 draw at home to Kirby Muxloe Reserves on Saturday, Cottesmore ended the year at the foot of the table.
“It has been a hard season but also enjoyable in a perverse way,” said Duffy. “The lads have been great. There is a core who have stuck by week in, week out.”
Duffy’s first task may be to convince skipper Lee Wood to keep playing after the player suggested he would hang up his boots after Saturday’s draw.
The Cottesmore boss said: “Lee has been inspirational. He has ‘retired’ several times but certainly we would want to keep him. He has been magnificent as sweeper and could play another five years.
“I hope he will stay on along with the core of lads like Mike Feely, Ollie McCann and Tom Spawton – they’ve all been excellent.”
But he knows he needs to strengthen a squad was threadbare at times during the 2011-12 campaign.
“The Army will arrive soon at Cottesmore and hopefully we will get a few players from there.
“We played quite well on Saturday. It shows that we can compete without any shadow of a doubt but when we are scratching around for players to make up the squad each week it was always going to be difficult.”
There is a slim chance that Cottesmore may escape relegation with a league restructure a possibility and at least two clubs, Ratby Town and Lutterworth Athletic, not expected to play in the league next season.
“Some people say we should go down to rebuild but I think we should play at the best standard that we can,” added Duffy.
Cottesmore’s draw on Saturday typified much of their season with mistakes costing them at the back.
“We were in control until two mistakes cost us two goals,” said Duffy. “We gave the ball away cheaply and never closed their players down.
“We missed a couple of good chance but overall it was probably a fair result.”
Danny Bomken scored Cottesmore’s first, turning in Mike Feeley’s cross after excellent work on the wing.
Appeals for a spot kick fell on deaf ears before Cottesmore eventually drew level, through Tom Spawton, who got the vital touch at a corner.
Cottesmore: Rob Lewin, Richard Giblin, Tom Spawton, Alex Mackie, Andy Finch (Richard Wilson), Mike Feeley, Lee Wood, Ollie McCann, Craig Ward (Ben Dickenson), Danny Bomken, Seth Burkett.