LES Jones has urged the Pershore Town players who completed their Great Escape to stick together and become a promotion-chasing force next season.
Despite having taken over a club in freefall and stuck at the foot of the table, Pershore’s rousing end-of-season run left them in 14th position in the West Midlands League Premier Division – bettering the finishing places in the two previous campaigns in MidlandsLeague Division One.
The Plums ended the season with a 6-0 thumping of Shropshire visitors Wem Town at the Community Stadium thanks to a hat-trick from Nick Seabourne plus goals from Max Ferriday, Sam Clark and Will Green on his debut.
And having signed off as one of the division’s form teams, boss Jones wants to take the momentum into next season when the top four will all go up as non-League faces a restructuring.
The top four will be among 76 clubs nationwide all promoted into step five, with the FA adding two new divisions – one based around the Potteries – to a total of 16.
It is a huge incentive, admits Jones, and he hopes the squad which has transformed Pershore’s fortunes in the past few months will remain. Initial talks have been extremely positive, but Jones knows nothing is certain at this stage as other clubs eye their players.
“There will be four places up for grabs to be promoted next season and we want to build a squad to win promotion,” said Jones. “Our form in the past 12 games or so has been top six so I know we’re not too far behind what will be required.
“We’ve lost by a single goal to the champions Tividale and Wolves Casuals, who could be third, and we’ve drawn with Haughmond, who were runners-up. We want to push on now.
“All the players have agreed to stay but there’s no contracts so nothing is guaranteed. I understand that and we will be looking to add players too, like all clubs do, but there’s a good spirit in the squad and a togetherness that has been evident in the last few months.”
Pershore signed off the season in style against Wem – with the 6-0 win their biggest victory of the season. It was the fourth time in eight matches they have scored four or more and they ended with a run of one defeat in nine matches.
It was a particularly memorable contest for teenager Green, who scored with his very first touch after coming on as substitute on his debut. The youngster, signed from Fladbury, has been training with the first team since joining in February and Jones says Pershore hope to make the most of local talent, especially with a new under 18 team being introduced to play in the Midland Floodlit Youth League.
“We brought in Will in February, with a view to next season but he deserved his chance,” said Jones. “To come on and score with his first touch, especially with his family having come to watch, rounded the day off wonderfully.”
The club will be holding trials for the new under 18s team at the Community Stadium on Wednesday, May 8. Interested players should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register their playing position and experience.