Boston United have just two players signed up for next season... but Paul Cox knows exactly who he wants to recruit

Season over. Planning begins for Pilgrims

Captain Luke Shiels is already signed up for next season. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Captain Luke Shiels is already signed up for next season. Photo: Oliver Atkin

The season is finally over... and the hard work begins now as Paul Cox begins building his first Boston United squad in his image.

It is a challenge the Pilgrims manager is looking forward to after taking over the side in January and guiding them to Saturday's National League North promotion final.

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The scenes that followed as York City secured a 2-0 win has made Cox hungrier than before to succeed, but he knows the job won't be easy.

Skipper Luke Shiels and midfieder Brad Abbott are the two players currently under contract, while discussions have started with a number of current squad members.

There are also financial and logistical points to sort, and that's before the club settles on their plans for the future.

When asked in the past, Cox hasn't committed to whether training will continue at Doncaster next season, while chairman David Newton still doesn't know whether the National League's plans to bring in a salary cap will happen.

Plans to run what is known as a hybrid system - in between full and part time football, where teams train three times in the week - have also been hinted at, none more so than when Cox discussed a new 'blueprint' after victory at Farsley Celtic recently.

But the one thing Cox does know is how he wants to improve upon this season's performances, with a new found resolve in the squad.

"There's a frustration in terms of consistency and developing a group that have an understanding for the DNA and know how to win and embrace pressure," he said.

"It's going to be harder (to implement) than just saying that.

"We've got a nice core group I want to build around and we've been working hard in terms of recruitment.

"It's hard at this minute as we're emotional, but when the dust settles I've got to make really key decisions.

"We want to get this club out the league. We don't want to be scraping into the play-offs and coming into this environment again and feeling like this.

"We want to move forward."

Cox - who has won promotion with Mansfield Town and twice with Eastwood Town - has known for a long time the players he wants to keep, and those he wants to bring in.

Of course, it's not always that easy as the players, managers, agents get busy in the summer merry-go-round.

United's success in recent weeks will also have made rivals take note.

Danny Elliott's 31 goals and Shane Byrne's inclusion in the National League North's Team of the Year won't have gone unnoiticed, while the rehabilitation of some of the walking wounded may also be important.

But Cox continues to plan.

"I've known since the first minute I've walked in (who I want next season)," Cox said.

"I know the fundamentals of us and knew a lot about the squad I inherited.

"Some have come out the woodwork and surprised me, they've grown into the mindset.

"But I know some ingredients are missing.

"It's all got to fit into pounds and pence and budgets, but we have been looking because there's no time like the present."

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