DUDLEY Town boss Ian Rowe is hoping to fend off interest from rival clubs in his top players.
The Robins will report back for pre-season training on June 20 and Rowe is confident the majority of last season’s squad will remain at Town for the new campaign.
But he admits facing a tough task persuading some of his star performers to stay after they attracted the attention of club’s further up the non-league pyramid, thanks to some scinitillating performances last term as Dudley secured a fifth placed finish in the West Midlands Premier League.
Rowe said: “We are hoping to keep the majority of the squad together but it’s a fact of life at this level that if you do well your players appear on the radar of bigger clubs.
“There is always the danger of players being cherry-picked by club’s who can offer to pay them.
“We want to progress the team here so it’s vital we hold on to as many players as possible, we are looking to bring in four or five new faces and have started work on that.
“Last season was great for us but we now want to push on and maybe get into a higher league ourselves.”
One of the players Rowe will be desperate to keep hold of is players’ and supporters’ player of the season Marvin Nisbett. The pacy teenage striker has been shortlisted for the West Midands Premier player of the year, with the winner set to be announced at the league’s award evening on June 27.
Rowe said the nomination was a tribute to Nisbett’s efforts last season, when he was twice named league player of the month.
He said: “Marvin left his mark against every team we played against last season, he will be coming with us to the award’s evening and it’s a special night for him - I think he has a great chance of winning it.
“Obviously there has been interest in him from other clubs, but we’re hoping to keep hold of him for another season at least.”
The Robins kick-off their pre-season campaign at home to Stourbridge on Saturday July 11 (kick-off 3pm) while they also have home ties against Tipton Town on Saturday July 18 (3pm), Causeway United on Wednesday July 22 (7.45pm) and Daventry Town on Saturday July 25 (3pm).
They also have a charity match at Enville Athletic on Thursday August 6 (7pm).