BROMSGROVE Sporting boss Brendan Kelly has urged his players to express themselves as he looks to finalise his squad ahead of the new season.
Kelly wants to whittle down his squad to 18 or 19 players and is using the final five pre-season friendlies to get an idea of what team will be put out when the Southern League Division One Central campaign kicks off on Saturday, August 18 when the Rouslers visit AFC Dunstable.
Harry Harris, Omar Haughton, Danny Campbell and Halal Albaarini have been cut loose while youngster Tom Massey will be loaned out to gain more first-team experience.
“I have to start whittling the squad down as it will be very hard to keep players happy,” said Kelly.
Sporting head to National League North outfit Leamington tomorrow (Saturday) followed by a trip to Northern Premier Central side Halesowen Town on Tuesday night.
Higher-ranked Stourbridge and Rushall Olympic as well as county rivals Evesham United visit the Victoria Ground before the league campaign gets underway.
And Kelly has already told his players what he expects to be seeing from them in those games.
“If players want to be playing at the level where the likes of Leamington, Stourbridge or Halesowen are, the players have got to prove they can cope with not just the pressure, but the expectation of how those sides play,” he said.
“Should my players want to aspire to be at those levels, they need to show they can do so.
“I have told the lads to just express themselves on the ball and play good football.”
Sporting remain unbeaten so far in pre-season following Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Alvechurch.
Although Kelly was unavailable to watch the game due to family commitments, he heard good reports back from his management team about how his mixed side performed.
He added: “I purposely mixed up the team with trialists, new players and the current squad because I wanted to keep Alvechurch guessing as to what team we would put out when we face them in the FA Cup on August 25.
“We gave minutes to lads that needed them and I think on the whole a draw was a fair result as they had the better chances in the first half while we had the better chances in the second half.”