PHIL Sharpe has set his sights on guiding Ossett Town straight back to the Evo-Stik Premier Division this season.
Town suffered relegation last term and kick-off their Division 1 North campaign today when they host Mossley at Stade France (kick-off 3pm).
Sharpe, along with Eric Gilchrist, who’s made the switch from neighbours Ossett Albion to coach at Town, has made wholesale changes to his squad in a bid for an instant return to the Premier Division.
He believes his target is achievable this season, helped by a strength-in-depth in his squad that was missing last season.
“The play-offs would be great this season, we’re looking to bounce straight back at the first attempt after the disappointment of last year,” he said.
“There aren’t as many big hitters in this division as there were in the Premier Division and we have a strongish squad with more strength in depth and more experience.
“Eric has come over from Ossett Albion and I know him well; we’ll both have a similar input into the team and I think that will be a big help.
“With his extra knowledge on top of mine we should be able to attract some good players to help us.
“The budget is better but we’re still ninth or tenth in that respect in this division, but it’s better than last year.”
Town’s pre-season friendly matches have been limited due to work on their pitch, but Sharpe has been pleased with what he’s seen in the pre-season.
Michael Senior, Ryan White, Mark Ryan and Kyle Cook have all made the switch across town from Albion, while Sharpe has welcomed many more new additions to Ingfield.
And although Sharpe’s focus is very much on improving matters on the pitch, it’s a big season for Town off it.
The club has confirmed it’s accepted an offer from retail giant Tesco to buy the land occupied by its Stade France ground.
It will mean Town relocate to a purpose-built stadium close to Ingfield in the coming seasons.
“This season is a big one for the club on and off the pitch,” said Sharpe.
“The Tesco offer will be good for the club and it’s important that we progress.”
Neighbours Ossett Albion start their Division 1 North campaign with a tough trip to Witton Albion today (kick-off 3pm).
The match will see joint managers Lloyd Fellows and Paul Watson take charge of their first competitive match for the Dimple Wells side.
Wakefield FC travel across the Pennines for their season opener at Clitheroe (kick-off 3pm).
See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.