Toolstation NCEL Division One
Ben Hunter says Rossington Main’s reputation has been greatly enhanced by their unprecedented league finish last season and their track record for developing young players.
Hunter took Rossington where no man has taken them before by leading them into the play-offs.
During his three-year tenure he has also given a host of youngsters a foothold in the game and helped them move higher up the pyramid – new Brighouse Town striker Myron Gibbons being the latest example.
“(Young players) have reached out to me,” Hunter told Non League Yorkshire.
“There’s only so many young players I know and some aren’t quite ready if they are coming out of the academy system.
“We’re getting a bit of a reputation around this area which is great and what we need because we don’t have the resources some do.
“It is hard to recruit at this time because (younger) lads don’t know where they want to go.
“We’ll see what falls out after pre-season.
“We may pick up players who have tried higher up like the National North but lack the experience and physical side that’s needed at that level.
“We can offer a bridge to that and it is a real positive.
“Now because we had some big games last season and there was a bit of coverage for Rossington, it is not as hard to recruit as it was when I first came in (in 2019).”
Despite reaching the lofty heights of the play-offs, Hunter’s side will undergo a forced mini-makeover due to departures.
“I felt we needed to bring in a few extra faces, mainly because we’re losing a few,” he said.
“What we try and do is get promising young players in and move them up the pyramid.
“That’s happened and we are probably losing four-or-five key players from last season.
“A couple have been announced already.
“Myron has gone to Brighouse and there are a few more in the works.
“We have also managed to secure Bailey Conway a trial at Doncaster Rovers.
“This is great for the lads and they deserve it.
“That’s what we want and the recruits we are bringing in have seen (the progression),
“Some are not quite ready to move up but they will be after another season with us.
“I’m mainly bringing in young players.
“We are limited with what we can bring in, although I have brought in a couple of friends who will raise a few eyebrows and give us a bit more experience and know-how.”
Last season ended with the play-off semi-final defeat at North Ferriby – denying the chance for the Rossington players to book a weekend tour of a European party destination.
Such a loss can be demoralising – not for Hunter though.
“It was a hard one to take but moments change games,” he said.
“We had the unfortunate sending-off which although there was no intent it probably was a sending off.
“Away from home against a team like North Ferriby with ten men after 30 minutes it is always to be a struggle.
“They are a very strong team and on another day it is a different story.
“The project we’re working on here…we’re really happy to get in the play-offs.
“Although you want to win on the day, it is a great step for the club to make.
“It didn’t take me too long to get over it because I’m preparing for hopefully going one better or at least match those achievements this season.”