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Halford hopes new 4G surface at Buxton will prove to be a vital asset

Buxton FC v Hednesford, joint manager Steve Halford
Buxton FC v Hednesford, joint manager Steve Halford

Buxton joint-manager Steve Halford is confident that a move to a new 4G pitch at the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium won’t prove too much of a hindrance to his side’s hopes for the next campaign.

Work to install the new surface is underway, with the club targeting a potential friendly against Chesterfield on July 30 as being the first game to be played on it.

In the meantime, Halford says the squad will train and play on a similar surface as much as possible to become familiar with its feel.

He said: “We’re not going to try and reinvent the wheel when it comes to how we prepare to play football, just because we’ll have a new surface to play on for half the season.

“But it’s in our best interests to get familiar with it as soon as we can. A lot of the training facilities we use have the 4G surface and once ours is down we will use it as our main training pitch anyway, which in itself will help us.

“It might take a little while to get used to but we can’t be using it as an excuse if we have poor home form.”

Halford added that he expects friendly matches to be played on Hyde United’s 4Gpitch and also that at Tamworth, although the specific opponents for those games are as yet uncomfirmed.

He said: “We’ve spoken to people at those clubs and at Harrogate Town about adjusting to it and it’s helped. We’ll aim to get games played on their pitches, either against those clubs or others, to help us familiarise.”

On the personnel front, Halford says there has been little further movement in terms of squad numbers since early commitments were made by several Bucks players, as well as some departures including Joe Maguire and Niall Doran.

And Halford is adamant that patience could be key when it comes to securing the kinds of players he and fellow boss Paul Phillips want to take the club forward.

He said: “I’m actually pretty happy with the progress made considering the stage we are at.

“We are still a few signings short but have people in mind and will also have a look at some new faces in pre-season, as well as having a good valuation of some of the existing squad.

“We’ve retained the nucleus of a good set of players from last year and I think we are not far short of having a very good side.

“We achieved a lot in a short time here last season, rising up the table as we did and playing really well, so I hope players will see that and see us as a good option.

“But as always at this stage of the summer, players are considering their options and holding out to see what the best deals are for them so we have to be patient.

“That said, the players we bring in have will be the right fit. They need to be able to come in and have a positive influence on the group and on our football.

“The team that starts pre-season won’t necessarily be the team that starts our first game of the new campaign, and there may even be acquisitions made after the season starts if we feel it necessary.

“It’s going to be a very tough division next season, arguably tougher than last year given the sides coming up and down and the financial clout some of them have, but we’ve already shown we can compete and will be looking to build on the momentum we managed to achieve last season.”