Belper Town ended the 2015/16 season with defeat away at Stocksbridge Park Steels, it also put an end to their recent good run of form, after winning the previous three games.
Manager Charlie Palmer will be hoping for a better response from his players on Tuesday night when his side travel to The New Manor Ground, to face National League North outfit Alfreton Town in the Derbyshire Senior Cup Final.
He gave his thoughts on yesterday’s defeat at the Look Local Stadium, the season as a whole and also next seasons prospects. He said.
“It was obviously disappointing, after the good run we have been having we have to recognise how we need to start a game, certain things didn’t really happen in preparation for the game.
“You have still got to go out as individuals and as a team and put those flaws and issues to one side and start the game better than we did do.
“We have conceded a very poor goal and took around 10/15 minutes to get into the game, it was one of those where if we kept it at 1-0 until half-time we could address some issues and try and turn things around.
“As long as the lads understand that we can’t start the game like that against Alfreton because the game could be over, my players who are an honest group accept that.
”We will train on Monday to loosen up and to give me an idea of my team for Tuesday night, as long we give a good account of ourselves you never know what might happen.”
Several academy and under-21 players, including academy captain Sam Weston, have been involved with Palmer’s squad in recent weeks, but there hasn’t been much opportunity for game time with a settled starting eleven. Palmer said.
“Sam (Weston) is one for the future, I don’t think he is ready for the first team yet, he has been playing centre-half for the academy but if he came in today against their big centre forward, it could have been too much for the young lad.
“I am all about giving young lads experience, it is good for him to travel with the first team and warm up to understand what I expect from my players, so too put him in would have been too much I think.”
Nailers captain Eric Graves was forced off again through injury against Stocksbridge, Palmer is hoping he will be fit for Tuesday’s cup final.
“Some players need minutes, Gravesy will be in the team on Tuesday, he knows the score and accepted my decision to take him off. He is a big player for my team and a big player for the club so we need him fit on Tuesday.”
The former Derby County defender also spoke about what next season holds for Belper Town, with the majority of the current squad expected to remain at the club. He said.
“I signed the majority of the current players for next season, there is only one player who has not accepted a new deal as he is looking to play higher, I do not fall out with players and I wish him all the best.
“We will still have to wait and see though, he will be in my squad on Tuesday night.
“People who have watched Belper since I came in will know I put pressure on myself, but I know I need a forward who can do it at this level if we want to be pushing and be there or thereabouts next season.
“I look at games we have lost and games that have been tight if we have a goalscorer who puts his chances away, Steady (Alex Steadman) has come in and done very well and scored a lot of goals but I need someone else to take the responsibility off of him.
“I am not fooled and neither are the players, we need a player who can score 23 goals a season.”
With the league season coming to a close, Palmer gave an overall observation his tenure at the club, and also revealed his expectations for next season.
“I understand we have finished 13th, I would like to be in the top six or seven next season and we’ll see where that takes us but we need to improve on this season.
“There has been some good performances and some good results but also a lack of understanding of how to see out games.
“Today was a great example, we have not started off well, we have gone in at half-time and addressed some issues. Shown a massive improvement second half and got ourselves back in the game.
“Good teams who win things, have an understanding that it might not be a pretty game but it’s one of those games where you roll your sleeves up and earn a result.
“The way we gave away the penalty, we need to be wiser and understand how to see a game out. Players have got to understand you don’t make rash challenges in the box, it is all a learning process but if you want to be in the top six you need to learn very quickly.”
Updated 19:09 - 24 Apr 2016 by Sam Allsop