TOMMY LAWSON admits it is vital that Skelmersdale United retain the nucleus of their squad this summer, having agonisingly missed out on a play-off place on the final day of the Evo-Stik First Division North campaign.
Skem’s 2-1 defeat at Garforth Town on Saturday ensured they finished the season outside the top five places, a disappointing end to a season which had promised plenty.
Lawson believes a wobble during the winter months, in which his squad was stretched by injury and suspension, ultimately cost his side, but says they can be confident of a strong showing next season if they can keep hold of their key players.
“It is disappointing, but if you look at what the lads have achieved, it’s impressive,” said Lawson. “We have lost just one of our last 14, which is some going.
“If we can keep the nucleus of our squad together, then we can be very confident for the future. Most of our squad is young and vibrant, and it will only get better and better. There are exciting times ahead for us I’m sure.”
Lawson added: “I think the period around Christmas, where we had a lot of injuries and suspensions, cost us. We lost games we should have won, and that was because our squad did not have the depth we needed.
“When we addressed that, by bringing in the likes of Josh Hine, Anthony Hickey, Louis Corrigan, Sean Williams, Tom Hardwick and Mike Duffy, the results were there for all to see.
“It’s a tough balancing act though. Everyone would love depth in the squad, but if you have a good player who isn’t playing, then they will inevitably move on. That’s what you have to deal with.”
Lawson also revealed he had been “gobsmacked” with the level of support his side had received in their winner-takes-all clash at Garforth.
“Our support was magnificent,” he beamed. “It was a fantastic effort to see so many of our fans there.
“Garforth helped make it a spectacle by lowering entrance fees and giving out free scarves.
“That was a great bit of initiative from them, but I thought our fans did their bit too.
“The lads stayed afterwards to show their appreciation too.
“They appreciate what the supporters go through for them, and I think the supporters appreciate what the players give for the club.”