Macclesfield Town manager John Askey firmly believes his team must retain the majority of their players if they are to stand any chance of pushing for promotion again next season.
Askey’s side were held to a 1-1 draw at Torquay United on Saturday, leaving them one point and one place outside the play-offs.
Eastleigh started the day two points ahead of the Silkmen and their 2-1 win against Kidderminster Harriers ensured their play-off position. But Forest Green, who kicked off on Saturday just one point ahead of Macc, were held to a goalless draw at home against Dover.
Had Askey’s men found a winner on the south coast they would have been looking forward to a play-off semi-final this evening against Bristol Rovers.
But with the Silkmen’s season now over, Askey is already turning his attention to the new campaign, and he knows what needs to happen if they are to make progress next year.
“The big thing is keeping the players together,” he said. “I don’t want to be in a situation next season where I’m on holiday having to ring round to try and get people in.
“We have got good players here and so they need to be signed up, the value of each player has gone up because of the position we’re in.
“The club has to decide where they want to be and if they want to muddle through then it will go terribly wrong.
“We need to make sure that the players are signed up and they’re not even asking for huge amounts of money. They just want to play for Macclesfield but obviously they can’t live on fresh air.”
While his team achieved a lot of great results this year on their way to a sixth-place finish, he feels the entire campaign has been a success.
“I can’t pick out anything specific as my favourite moment but I think the whole season has been great,” he said.
“The attitude of the players every time they’ve gone out onto the pitch has been terrific.
“We have had the odd blip where we’ve not played as well as we should have done but it’s still been a really reward ing season for myself, and the players have enjoyed it too.”
Macclesfield goalkeeper Rhys Taylor was already at the club when Askey became manager, and he has enjoyed playing under the boss.
“I’ve worked with him for two seasons now and it’s been great,” he said.
“He gets on well with the lads and as a manager that’s all you need to do as once you get on the players’ sides then they play for you. It’s been a good year and my highlight is probably keeping the amount of clean sheets that we have.
“We have one of the best defences in the league and not many people would have said that at the start of the season.
“We’ve all worked hard and it’s not just the back four and myself who have achieved that, everyone in the team has done well.”