Melton Town manager Steve Hendey wants to make next season a fitting swansong to his career after deciding this will be his final football campaign.
Hendey was lured out of retirement last January to work alongside Tony Thorpe at Town and then oversaw a rich vein of form when he took sole charge of the team following Thorpe’s departure.
A run of five wins from his six matches in charge lifted Town up to a ninth-place finish in United Counties League Division One, results which also earned the former Sileby boss the manager of the month award for April.
“I was talked into doing one more year, but it’s definitely the final one,” he said.
“All the lads said some nice things at the club’s presentation evening and my ego got the better of me. The manger of the month award was the icing on the cake.
“The aim is to get promotion for both teams, then I can go and get my slippers on.
“If I don’t get promotion I’ll get sacked, and if I do then I can say I’m going out on a high!”
Shane Jarram has been brought in from East Midlands Counties League side Barrow Town to work as joint manager alongside Hendey.
But the club are still looking for a manager to run their Second XI which has been resurrected and will play in the Leicestershire Senior League next season.
The squad will be bolstered by players from Mansfield Town Academy, which is based at Brooksby Melton College.
A link-up was agreed last month as the League Two club look to give their young players experience of senior football.
And Hendey expects there to be some further new faces in the squad, but exactly who and when will be unclear until player registration opens on Saturday.
“It’s silly season at the moment and there are many things up in the air,” he added. “But I think we will have a stronger squad next season.
“I’m pretty confident 90 per cent of the players who have said they want to come, will come and they will be at the same level or better than some of the players we are losing.
“We got it going at the end of last season which shows a lot of promise if we can strengthen a few areas.”
Hendey got a first look at the provisional squad when pre-season training began on Tuesday ahead of a challenging schedule of friendlies. It opens on July 8 at home to Nottinghamshire senior league champions Clifton All Whites.
Home matches follow against UCL Premier side Northampton ON Chenecks (July 15), Shepshed Dynamo (July 18), East Leake Athletic (July 22), and a Mansfield Town XI (July 25), before a trip to Birstall United on July 29.
The season proper is due to get under way on Saturday, August 5.
Among other changes is a new supporters’ club as Town look to build an infrastructure to cope with any progress made on the field.
Hendey added: “It is an expensive business at this level and the club will need more sponsors and more people to help out behind the scenes. The potential of the club is immense.”