CARL ADAMS says he will only be looking for “two or three” additions in the summer to build on Stratford Town’s highest ever finish.
Having already guaranteed themselves the most points playing in the highest league and at least 15th place, Town want to end another season of progress with three points when Dorchester Town visit the DCS Stadium on Saturday for the final match of the Southern Premier season.
After the best home display of the season brushed aside Kettering Town 4-1 on Saturday, a sequence of four wins in an unbeaten five-match run was wrecked by a 2-1 defeat at Cinderford Town on Monday when Stratford could only name 11 senior players in their squad.
Victory over Dorchester could push them up to 13th in the final standings, if results go their way, and Adams has been delighted with the evolution of his players, despite the ups and downs along the way.
He expects the bulk of the players to remain for next term and ideally wants to bring in two or three players to continue to build strength in depth and quality.
“I won’t be planning too many changes at all,” said Adams. “I will probably be looking to bring in three at most.
“We’ll look at players on trial in pre-season but I don’t plan too many additions.
“We’ve progressed again and the whole idea last summer was to have a young squad that could improve and stick together for two or three seasons.
“I’m not naive to think other clubs will not be looking at our players and maybe offering them another £50-60 to play, but I don’t think anybody wants to leave.”
Injuries were all too evident, though, on Monday, with none of the Stratford subs fit enough to play, apart from youth team keeper Scott Martin.
Adams, however, hopes Simeon Tulloch (calf) will be fit and influential loanee Wayne Thomas has been having treatment at parent club Kidderminster on a heel problem after both were late withdrawals on Monday. James Hancocks (hamstring) and Dylan Parker will have a fitness test too, although Edwin Ahenkorah is set to miss out with a knee problem.
“We had a fantastic result on the Saturday, beating Kettering and thoroughly deserving the three points,” said Adams. “But two days later, it was totally unrecognisable because we had so many injuries. We had a bare 11.
“We should have done better for the two goals Cinderford scored and we simply ran out of legs in the second half. That probably sums up the highs and lows of the season.”
Stratford have players on loan at other clubs but Adams felt it would have been unfair to call them back for a one-off.
“It’s happened to me before and I’m not going to do that to other managers I respect,” he added.
Stratford had the perfect start at the Causeway with George Forsyth bagging his third goal in three games after just three minutes. Will Grocott’s corner found the head of the on-loan Forsyth, who had been switched to centre back, and the ball flew into the net.
But Cinderford, already relegated after one season in the Premier, snatched the points with two goals in a two-minute spell following a 25-minute break after the hosts’ James Bloom needed an ambulance due to a gashed knee. Lewis Bamford nipped in as the defence hesitated to level on 78 minutes before Craig Norman headed the winner.
Stratford had completed the double over Kettering on Saturday with a sizzling display.
Forsyth found the net within three minutes from a precise header but Ben Baker levelled.
However, Grocott’s perfect cross set up Thomas to head home and regain the lead just before the hour mark and Jamie Spencer made it 3-1 after a one-two with Taylor following an initial break by Justin Marsden.
Then, in stoppage time, a foul on Taylor allowed Grocott to slam home a penalty for 4-1.