BROMSGROVE Sporting boss Paul Smith admits he is finding it difficult to cut his squad down to 18 ahead of the new Midland League Premier Division campaign.
With the new season just over a month away, the Rouslers boss has been left overwhelmed by the fitness levels of his returning players and six new signings during pre-season training.
Luke Shorthouse (Atherstone Town), Will Tibbetts (Studley) and Andy Nicol (Studley) have been the only departures from the 28-man squad so far which has left Smith in a pickle.
Seven more of last season’s ‘Invincible’ Division One champions are expected to depart but who that could be remains a mystery before the season gets fully underway on Saturday, August 5 with an FA Cup extra preliminary round tie.
“Whittling the squad down to 18 is becoming a lot harder than I thought it would be,” Smith told the Standard.
“The reason being is the group have come back fitter than I had expected.
“It is the best start to a pre-season we have ever had as the players are around two weeks ahead of where they should be in terms of their fitness levels.
“I’m not looking to bring anyone else into the picture as I’m happy with the deals I have done but unfortunately I have got to let some happy players go.”
Sporting’s pre-season schedule gets underway next Wednesday with an away trip to Chelmsley Town (7.45pm KO) and Smith is hoping to use the fixture to give minutes to players he wants to look at as well as trying out a new system.
Although the Sporting boss would not reveal his plans, he added he will be using the first three pre-season friendlies against Chelmsley, Romulus and Paget Rangers to test out his new way of thinking.
“There is something in my mind and there is a method in the madness,” Smith said.
“I am looking at a certain way to play the players and that links to the signings which I have brought in and the first three friendlies will enable me to try that new system out.
“Exciting times lie ahead playing wise as everybody I wanted to keep from last season’s squad are still here and I have acquired my transfer targets.
“The future bodes well if the squad works hard and stays grounded.”
Promising defender Ben Birch and former Redditch United midfielder Max Loveridge remain on trial at Sporting.