CARL ADAMS says his Stratford Town players must understand footballing success will come through the squad, not just the starting XI.
Adams wants to build on a highest-ever league position when the new Southern Premier season starts next week and former Redditch United and Hednesford Town forward Jazz Luckie has become Town’s sixth new signing, with Eli Bako set to follow.
The Town boss believes he now has the most competitive squad he has ever had and they will all have a role to play.
“I’ve got 18-20 players and it wouldn’t worry me if any one of them started,” said Adams.
“They have to keep doing well in training and matches.
“From day one, when we came back in pre-season, I’ve told the players there are going to be 55 matches during the season and probably most of the players won’t play more than 40.
“If they do that they will have had a great season.
“Players have to accept they will be on the bench and not spit their dummies out.
“They have to accept no-one will play every game. That’s not about ability, it’s about managing the squad in a tough league and keeping players fresh.”
Town round off their preparations today (Saturday) when they welcome Sutton Coldfield Town to the MoodChimp Stadium.
It will be the finale for a family open day as the club looks to get more supporters through the gate on a regular basis.
Kick-off is 3pm, with the open day, with activities and competitions, starting at noon.
Adams will have James Fry back in contention after a damaged nose meant he was ruled out of last week’s 2-0 defeat to Solihull Moors and Tuesday night’s 2-1 win against Bromsgrove Sporting.
Bako is ruled out with an ankle injury while Antonio Alcaraz is away and Warren Brookes, sent off in the friendly against Rushall Olympic, will not feature as he has to serve a suspension for the first three matches of the season which starts next Saturday away to league newcomers Royston Town.
Second-half goals from Darren Carter and Jermaine Hylton fired Moors to victory on Saturday, though Town had opportunities of their own.
But those chances were finished in style on Tuesday, with Ben Stephens rounding off an excellent display with two well-worked goals, sandwiching a reply from Wade Malley.
“I’m really pleased with how pre-season has gone, but I want more,” said Adams.
“I told the players before Tuesday that they are all playing for the places.
“They all need to step up and it was a positive performance.”
Meanwhile, Town have been drawn away to Evesham United in the first round of the league cup, now titled the BigFreeBet Challenge Cup.
The tie will be played in the week beginning October 2.