Despite the continued waiting game in terms of an actual league start date, the City backroom team have been busy assembling the squad in readiness for 2020/21.
With no new signings announced YET, the retained list looks healthy with the vast majority of the successful 2019/20 squad committing their future to the Dollies.
In the goalkeeping department Sam Ashton has agreed a deal to stay at the Giant Axe and is expected to be joined by other trialist stoppers in pre-season, whilst Max Povey has the opportunity to also come into train in pre-season.
Defenders Lewis Fensome, Ben Hudson, Glenn Steel and Ben Anderson have all indicated they will return, Hudson looking to hit the 250 appearance mark of which he is 17 games from.
The Dollies multi-talented midfield remains in-tact with local heroes Sam & Charlie Bailey, Paul Dawson, Rob Wilson and Niall Cowperthwaite joining David Norris and Simon Wills back at the Giant Axe, Wills just 5 appearances short of 300 appearances for the Dolly Blues.
Up front, a fully fit Brad Carsley is back hoping to put his stop-start 19/20 season behind him whilst negotiations are ongoing with Matt Blinkhorn who would be returning for his 3rd season.
The only confirmed outgoing is Danny Pilkington who has signed for Clitheroe whilst Jack Armer and Ryan Rydel both returned to their parent clubs in March and Kieron Feeney is to stay at Clitheroe for the new campaign.
Speaking of his off-season work, City manager Mark Fell has had plenty of time of his hands to assemble his troops in readiness for the new campaign.
“It’s been a strange off season” he said, “a lot of the usual discussions have been replaced by uncertainty but essentially from the first chat with everyone it was clear that they all wanted to stay and be part of the new season with the club. With Nozza he’s indicated that he’ll be back but if the season is significantly delayed we’ll need to sit down and have another chat to see what his thoughts are. There’s a couple of areas we want to strengthen, it’s clear we need to bring in a couple of defenders and a forward, we’re well advanced on several fronts but whilst we are in a position to get some over the line, others are still ‘playing the market’ and we’ll need to see how those deals develop. We’ll also look to the loan market once the football league has settled down a little bit and see what gems can be found there.”