Boston United manager Craig Elliott welcomes next season's National League start dates

Pilgrims boss confirms deals agreed with existing squad members....

Craig Elliott and his team have welcomed the extra few weeks before next season's start date. Photo: Eric Brown
Craig Elliott and his team have welcomed the extra few weeks before next season's start date. Photo: Eric Brown

Craig Elliott has welcomed the proposed October start date for the National League season - as it gives Boston United the chance to get 'a little breather'.

While some clubs will be kicking off their seasons with the FA Cup on September 1, steps one and two of the non-league pyramid have earmarked an October 3 start date, with the campaign due to end on May 29.

It is a date which suits the Pilgrims, who will conclude their campaign with Saturday's National League North play-off final, hosting Altrincham at York Street (KO 3pm). With the prospect of promotion, and work continuing on the Jakemans Community Stadium, a mid-September start date would have given the club around five to six weeks to build a squad and put together and play a pre-season schedule.

"I'm not going to lie, I was glad when I saw the start date," Elliott told The Standard.

"It lets us have a little breather after Saturday and let's us reflect where we are.

"I think the chairman was glad as it gives him a few more weeks for the stadium. On the pitch and off the pitch it's fallen quite well for us."

Those extra weeks will give Elliott more time to fine-tune his squad after discovering whether his side will be playing National League or National League North football next season after the weekend's final.

"If we got promoted, it changes things in terms of preparation and trying to evaluate what you need for the level above," Elliott added.

"I'm relieved that date's come out. It gives us time to prepare and move on for next season."

Elliott added that deals for next season have been agreed with a number of his current squad who will become free agents at the end of the campaign.

However, they will be finalised after the weekend.

He said: "We've got certain deals with the existing squad but I just felt that I'd leave them on hold.

"I have maintained that concentration has to be about these two (play-off) matches, and then we'll worry about next season after Saturday."