DOING his best impression of a sphinx, Chris Willcock is refusing to discuss the four or five players he has recruited to the Glossop North End squad.
Given the information available to the average supporter, identifying them wouldn’t present much of a problem, but Willcock stonewalls every question: “I’ll be happy to talk next week, but for the moment I’m trying to keep my cards close to my chest.
“I don’t want to give Spennymoor any help at all ahead of their game at Surrey Street on Saturday afternoon.
“They’re experienced Evo-stik players and among them are a couple of familiar names. When the supporters see the lads I’ve brought in I think the overall consensus will be a good one.”
Glossop, who were founder members of the North West Counties League in 1982, are readying themselves for an entirely new challenge. The Northern Premier League is the highest level at which they have played since their days in the old Cheshire League first division, from which they moved into the NWCL when the non-league pyramid was created.
Willcock is looking forward to what he terms a new adventure and wants to see what the Evo-stik League has to offer. With typical understatement, he says he expects a pleasant change to the North West Counties.
However, he feels he also needs to manage expectations. “Last season was unbelievable. We won two trophies and had a trip to Wembley. That sort of thing doesn’t come along very often,” said the Glossop boss.
“We’re not setting out to make the numbers up. I feel I’ve got a good squad capable of competing at the right end of the table. But I’ll probably have a better idea of the way things are after ten games, when we’ve got our feet properly under the duvet.
“Over the last couple of years we’ve done extremely well against teams from higher levels in the cups. Now we’ve got to be consistent and reproduce those performances week-in week-out at league level.
“My expectations as a manager are always high. I want to see progress year on year and since I’ve been at this football club we’ve been able to do that. Now we’re taking the next step and I want to see more progress.
“I expect high standards from the players. We’ve worked very hard to win the right to compete at this level and hopefully we can create some nice big waves.”
Willcock is very pleased to have retained virtually the whole of last season’s successful squad. The only departures are Lee Blackshaw, who has retired, and Richard Gresty, who is unable to play because of work commitments.
“They’ll all get their chance and we’ll see if they can make the step up on a weekly basis,” said the manager.