NPL Division One East
Dave Frecklington is hopeful Frickley Athletic are back on track after a difficult month.
Frecklington is on his third rebuild in as many months after departures and injuries decimated his side in September.
The Frickley boss had overhauled his squad twice in the summer.
The Blues – whose next fixture is Tuesday night’s trip to Bridlington Town – raced out of the blocks by winning four out of five but the club’s best start since 1991 has been undone by four defeats and one draw in the league.
“The chairman and the board were joking on our monthly zoom meeting that I’d never had a settled side since I came here and Saturday (at Prescot Cables) was the first time I’ve been able to name the same eleven in consecutive games,” Frecklington told Non League Yorkshire.
“That in itself was an achievement.
“But it has been rebuild after rebuild.
“We had the best start since 1991 and you want a consistent team after that and then out of nowhere you find yourself rebuilding again.
“We’re hoping now that we can keep the squad settled now.”
The first departure was striker Kieran Wells to Stalybridge Celtic – not long after the victory at Worksop Town at the end of August.
Players then started falling like dominoes and it is only in the past two weeks when reinforcements have begun arriving – such as Gary King, Piteu Crouz and Devonte Morton and two young loanees from Grimsby Town.
“It took us a while and a lot of hard work (to sign some forwards) and we have had to be patient because I don’t like just getting somebody in for the sake of it,” Frecklington said.
“We basically have a new team now.
“We had a great start to the season, winning four out of the first five and then literally lost Kieran Wells to Stalybridge Celtic which was a big blow.
“We lost my nephew (Lee Frecklington) to injury and he’s now retired.
“Then we lost our centre-half Brad Beatson (to injury) and then our other centre-half Joe West (to injury).
“We had lost seven overnight and to replace them was hard work and we suffered because of that.
“You can cope losing one-or-two but not seven.
“We didn’t want to go on record and whinge and make excuses, we just got on with it.
“We basically had to change formations, change personnel and go back to basics.
“We have managed to add some real quality in to the group and get our centre-halves back from injury plus a couple of lads in from Grimsby.
“We feel we’re in a better place than we were three or four weeks.
“It was a really tough period.”
Bar the 4-2 defeat at Hallam in the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup, results have picked up.
Frickley drew 1-1 at Stockton in their last league game and they also won 2-0 at Prescot Cables in the FA Trophy last week.
Prior to the upturn in form, it was a difficult time for Frecklington who knew results could be become sticky.
“The 6-0 defeat at Dunston wasn’t expected,” he said.
“I think that was basically everything coming to a head.
“We had only conceded one goal in open play in the first five and then we lost to Ossett on the Friday night.
“We then lost to Marske at home and then 6-0 at Dunston and that was just a low point.
“I wouldn’t say the (difficult run) was expected but we knew we were up against it.
“This is where my experience as a manager has come in and I’ve leaned on what I have done in the previous ten years when I’ve had a bad run.
“But it is the first time I’ve ever lost four games on the spin, I’ve never done that before.
“We all knew at the Football Club that it was an unprecedented three-or-four week period because you don’t expect to lose 75% of your squad for various reasons.
“You either stick your chest and go again and try and turn it around or you say this isn’t for me and walk away.
“That’s isn’t my makeup and we have worked hard on the training pitch as a management team and players and since we have made the changes we have drawn away at Stockton when we should have won.
“Then we have gone to Liverpool (to play Prescot Cables in the FA Trophy) and won 2-0 so we feel we’re on the right track now.”