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Phillips sets his sights on promotion next season – but patience will be the key to success
Tuesday 11th July 2017 @ 17:49 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Glossop North End joint-manager Paul Phillips has his sights set on claiming promotion next season – although he does believe that patience will be the key.

Phillips will be joined in the dugout by long-term partner Steve Halford, as the pair go in search of instant glory during their first season in charge of the Hillmen.

Upon taking the managerial role in May, Phillips and Halford have recruited a number of new players, which include defenders Jay Gorton and Liam Brownhill, midfielder Chris Baguley, and striker Kyle Riley.

As we went to press, the latest addition to the squad was defender Matt Russell, who returns to the club after spending 12 months at 1874 Northwich.

Phillips and Halford were given the chance to assess a somewhat depleted squad for the first time during a 2-2 draw at Cheadle Town in a pre-season friendly last week.

Following the game, Phillips spoke to Chronicle Sport and said it provided a good opportunity to increase fitness levels throughout the squad: “It was a bit hard because we had only completed one training session and a lot of the lads were still away, so it was a mix of new faces and some familiar ones as well” said Phillips.

“We completed a hard training session on Saturday and then went straight into the match on Wednesday, but we usually like doing three or four sessions before playing in a friendly.

“We played three 30 minute sessions which gave us a chance to have a good look at certain players, but all in all I thought it was ok.”

Next up in the pre-season schedule is a home tie against Chadderton on Saturday.

Phillips said he is expecting a good test from what he describes as a really good football team. “I know the manager and they have some really talented, young players” said Phillips.

“It will provide a good test for the lads and one which will hopefully increase the tempo and the fitness levels of the squad.”

Questioned on how the pitch is looking ahead of the game, Phillips said: “They’re probably about four or five weeks behind because of the beer festival, but it’s all hands to the deck at the moment.

“Paul and Ian who look after the pitch are working tirelessly to get it up to standard, and in the last seven to ten days we’ve really seen it come through.

“It looked a little bare to begin with, but it’s looking more like a pitch which you can play good passing football on.”

Phillips said that, while himself and Steve are new to the club, they’ve been warmly received by everyone involved.

The former Droylsden goalkeeper is hoping that the positive vibes will continue throughout the season and drive the team to promotion. He said: “Everyone on the board has been very welcoming, especially Lesley O’Donnell who is the club secretary.

“She’ll be the person we’ll go to when we have any issues, but like I said, everyone from the kit man right through to the tea lady and bar staff have made us feel very welcome and it’s been top draw up to now.

“This is the kind of atmosphere we need as we head into the new season, and if everyone pulls together then the goals we’ve established are much easier to achieve.”

Glossop fans were given the chance to meet the managerial duo, plus their backroom staff, for the first time on Sunday.

According to Phillips, the meet the manager event, which took place at Surrey Street, was a positive occasion. He said: “We held one for the supporters club the week before, but Sunday was just one for everyone in general.

“There were some good questions asked and it seemed like quite a positive meeting.”

While the Glossop faithful are still awaiting the announcement of next season’s league fixtures, they do know who their side will be facing in the FA Cup and FA Trophy.

Glossop’s first involvement in the FA Cup begins with a local derby against Mossley on Saturday 19 August.

Taking place at Surrey Street, the preliminary round fixture has got the taste buds tingling. Phillips said: “It’s a local derby, which I’m looking forward to, although we’ve always been a bit cursed when it comes to cup competitions.

“It really doesn’t get much harder than a local derby in your first FA Cup fixture!”

Meanwhile, the Hillmen begin their FA Trophy campaign during the preliminary round on Saturday 8 October at Tadcaster Albion.

Should they win that tie, Glossop will host Matlock Town in the first qualifying round on Saturday 28 October.

Asked if he had a message for supporters ahead of the new season, Phillips said: “Everybody wants to achieve great things in such a short period of time, but patience is the key and we’ve just got to wait for certain individuals to come back to us.

“Hopefully the season will go well and we can achieve the main objective which is promotion.”

Picture: Steve Dyson