PAUL SMITH was left surprised by the good quality of football his Bromsgrove Sporting squad showed in the 10-0 victory over FC Stratford in their first pre-season friendly of the summer.
The Rouslers boss handed a number of his new signings their non-competitive debut on Saturday and was rewarded as Chris Lloyd helped himself to a hat-trick and Dayle Kenny and Keenan Meakin-Richards grabbed one apiece.
Chris Conway, who is currently training with the Rouslers, bagged two while Sean Brain, Sam Wills and Aaron Roberts completed the scoring.
Sporting face a trip to local rivals Droitwich Spa on Saturday and Smith has urged his players to continue to push on as he deciphers who will make the starting 11 at the start of the 2016/17 Midland League Division One season.
“We scored some great goals on Saturday and I did not expect this kind of quality football in the first game back,” he said.
“There was some stand out performances from all the players but Chris [Lloyd] will get all the plaudits with a great hat-trick and it’s going to be tough to select a starting 11 for next season.
“But that’s exactly where I want to be as a manager. It’s pleasing for me to see that I have got 23 very good footballers and I’ll get another good look at them on Saturday.
“Droitwich are a very good side and did fantastically well last season. It’s a step up from our last game and we expect a tough test.”
Smith is edging ever closer to finalising his squad for next season with Meakin-Richards, youngsters Dean Fisher and Lewis Kemp, Luke Dugmore, Wills and Jack Wilson signing on for next season.
Jozsef Jakab and Brendan Kelly are also set to sign.
Nathan Walker is also expected to remain at Sporting but due to work priorities, his commitments for the Rouslers will be limited throughout the season.
Sporting travel to Heath Hayes in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup on August 6 and make the trip to Ellistown and Ibstock United in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase on September 10.
“Ideally we would like to have been at home in the draws as we’d have the incredible support behind us,” Smith added.
“Both sides will fancy their chances against us so we need to bring our A game.
“We had a decent run in both competitions last season and I’m looking forward to giving it another go this time around.”