Location continues to prove a stumbling block for Boston United recruitment - Elliott

Craig Elliott wants to put Boston United firmly on the map, but believes location, location, location is becoming a stumbling block.

Ashley Hemmings.
Ashley Hemmings.

Last season’s Player of the Year Ashley Hemmings was among those he had hoped to bring to the Jakemans Stadium this term.

But after United agreed a loan deal with AFC Fylde, Hemmings opted to move to rivals Altrincham, a team closer to his Lancashire base.

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“That was all agreed with Fylde, but he didn’t want to come back due to the travelling,” Elliott told The Standard.“I believe he’s based in Fylde.

“Last year it was difficult for him as well. That was the main thing for him wanting to leave, the travelling.

“It’s one of the biggest barriers to overcome here.”

Hemmings - last season’s leading scorer with 16 goals, despite commutes from Wolverhampton - looked set to make his return to Boston on Saturday as part of the Robins squad for a crunch National League North contest (KO 3pm), only to be recalled by Fylde on New Year’s Eve.

But while the former Wolves winger has been added to the list of ones who got away, Elliott continues to look to bolster his squad - a task which can often become frustrating.

“You take money aside, the biggest problem I’ve had as manager here is encouraging people to come because of the location,” he added.

“Certain clubs, without using excuses, have a good catchment area where it’s easier to convince players to come.

“I’m sure previous managers have had similar problems and it’s become apparent.”

Elliott believes that United have plenty to offer, but he says he has seen a shift in the mentality of players since he first entered the dug-out.

He added: “We’re not the biggest payers in the league, but you’d like them to see the attractions of playing here - the crowd, the ground.

“But the reality is, the modern-day footballer, that’s not the first thing on his mind.

“The travelling and money side is difficult to overcome. We’re all aware this league has become a lot more full time, there are big teams here and full-time footballers.

“I’ve missed out on players in the summer who purely wanted to play for a full-time team in that environment.”