Manager Billy Miller believes he now has the right pieces in his Tadcaster Albion jigsaw to start the new NCEL Premier campaign – but his eyes will not stop perusing the talent available during the season.
Miller recruited former Bardsey and Garforth Town player Nick Black following Tuesday night’s 3-1 defeat against Harrogate Town to become the sixth striker on the books at the i2i Stadium.
Ex-Harrogate man Matt Heath also marked his first outing in a yellow and blue shirt during the pre-season friendly.
And the arrival of one of the key men in Miller’s squad was a welcome sign with the new season eight days away.
Miller said: “For the first time tonight I looked at the bench and thought, quality. We can really change the shape of the game and we will be able to do that.”
On Black’s arrival, he added: “We’ve always said that when good players become available in this league then we’re always interested, it puts pressure on the players that are already here.
“I have told the players that they are extremely fortunate to be playing football at this club. It’s a very professional environment.
“It’s only right that we bring competition for places and he will bring that to the forward line.”
The defeat against Town was a second in the space of four days for Albion, after Scarborough stung them with three late goals in a 3-0 defeat on Saturday.
Since taking over the reigns, Miller’s squad have only picked up one pre-season friendly victory, but the boss was unconcerned by the results.
The boss said: “It’s very easy to lose sight of just how well we have done this pre-season against what has been some real quality opposition. Scarborough, Farsley and Harrogate Town will all be up there.
“We played a very strong Leeds side and an extremely strong FC Halifax side.
“When Oldham turned up with the kids it gave a very good indication of where we will be”.
Albion matched Harrogate pace for pace in a tight first half, with Town left-winger Louie Swain fashioning the best opportunity only to see his goalbound shot cleared off the line by George Bissett.
The game turned on its head, though, as Tadcaster capitulated within 10 minutes of the second half.
Town winger Jordan Thewlis drilled home from 20 yards to make the breakthrough before the same player had an opportunity to double the lead a minute later from the penalty spot.
After being hauled down by Danny Stimpson in the box, Thewlis saw his spot-kick saved by keeper Gary Stevens low to his left.
Stevens was put to the test from 12 yards just two minutes later, as Town were awarded a second penalty. However, triallist Connor Bower blazed high and wide.
The second goal came courtesy of a Stevens error as he cleared straight to another triallist, Royal Johnson who pulled back for Swain to crash home.
Town stretched their legs again on 75 minutes as the impressive Bower – who has been offered non-contract terms at the club – stole a yard in the box and swept into the bottom corner.
Albion regained their focus with the first appearance of former Town defender Heath.
And Josh Barrett gave Miller’s something to cheer in the last five minutes as he slid under replacement keeper Dan Atkinson.
Miller added: “It’s obviously difficult when you’re playing Harrogate Town who are playing Conference North football and are looking to push beyond that.
“But we have to be really pleased where we are.”