A sixth placed finish in the league, thus missing out on the play-offs, on the last day of the season, was not what they wanted, or even expected, last time around, this time though, it’s all change at Carlton Town, and maybe not quite for the better.
Following a league restructure by the Football Association, The Millers, they found themselves being moved from the Pitching In Northern Premier League Midlands Division, to the NPL East, ahead of the new campaign.
A failed appeal has seen them embark on an increased set of changes at the club as the 2022 Nottinghamshire FA Senior Cup winners prepare for a longer (travel-wise) season to come, one which will include some six trips to the north-east alone (Consett, Dunston UTS, Hebburn Town, North Shields, Shildon, and Stockton Town) as well as the likes of Bridlington and Cleethorpes Town.
It matters not though, the aim for joint-managers Tommy Brookbanks and Mark Havery will remain the same, and that’s what, form their part, they’re planning towards – defending the County Cup, a good run in either the FA Cup, or FA Trophy, and, worst case scenario, promotion via the play-offs, best case, winning the league outright.
Speaking of the ‘upheavals’ the early summer has presented the club, Mark Havery said: “It’s a bizarre decision, but we’ve just got to get on with it.
“There’s a few clubs in there we know from old, and plenty that we have no idea about, that are completely new.
“That, and there’s a fair few long journeys to make and that means we have to work with a bigger squad, especially with those six trips to the north-east, as well as to Bridlington and Cleethorpes.
“Let’s just hope the fixtures are kind to us but, we got the players in that we wanted to (four left, eight arrivals) so that’s help bolster the squad.”
Those new arrivals for The Millers sees that of pretty much brand new, back-line of Mike Emery (goalkeeper, prev. Barton Town OB), Jake Holt (defender, prev. Corby Town), Josh Burkitt (defender, prev. Grantham Town), and Daniel Freeman (defender, prev. Coalville Town).
In addition to those the club has added Ollie Gee (midfield, prev. Corby Town), Niall Hylton (winger, prev. Gedling Miners Welfare), Kyle Tomlin (midfield, prev. Mansfield Town U23s/Coalville Town) and Brad Mills (striker, prev. Frickley Athletic).
That, for now, alongside the players retained from last season, is what they’ll be running with “unless someone special, we can’t refuse, drops on our laps.”
The new season though, The Millers are adamant that they are going to give it all they have, give it a good go, both in the league, and the cups; after all, you can only beat what’s in front of you.
“We’ll set out as we always do, and that’s with the view of making the play-offs, minimum,” continued Mark.
“We will be looking to win the league though, so will be disappointed if we don’t do it; that, and we want to successfully defend our County Cup (the defeated Mansfield Town U23s, 1-0, in early May).
“Winning the County Cup was a fantastic achievement, and it’s made the better by the inclusion of Nottingham Forest, Notts County, and Mansfield Town, putting their U23s into it.
“To beat two of those clubs, it was fantastic for the club, so now we have to set out stall out, have a good go, and see if we can win it again.
“As for pre-season, we’ll just be going out there and enjoying ourselves really, that and work on our fitness levels.
“The trip to Merthyr Town (Welsh side who play in the Southern League South) is a great addition to the schedule.
“It’s one of those where we played them once, and now it’s every season, one year there, one year here, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Pre-Season friendlies – Ilkeston Town (a, 2 July), Merthyr Town (a, 9 July), Clifton (h, 16 July), Sherwood Colliery (a, 19 July), Selston (h, 23 July), Dunkirk (h, 26 July), Gedling Miners Welfare (h, 30 July), Matlock Town (h, 6 August)
Harvey and Brookbanks are no strangers either, both to the game, and to each other, having had decent playing careers, their respective moves into management would eventually see them combine forces.
That was near fifteen years ago, at Hucknall Town, and they’ve never looked back, always forward, and with those same goals in mind, season in, season out.
Now, it’s a case of moving forwards, again, this time in the Northern Premier League East, and with a whole new set of opposition to look forward to.
Opponents for the 2022-23 NPL East – Bridlington, Brighouse Town, Cleethorpes Town, Consett, Dunston UTS, Grantham Town, Grimsby Borough, Hebburn Town, Lincoln United, Long Eaton united, North Shields, Ossett United, Pontefract Collieries, Sheffield FC, Shildon, Stocksbridge Park Steels, Stockton Town, Tadcaster Albion, Worksop Town
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @CTFC1904 Mark Harvey (right) with Tommy Brookbanks (left) & Darryl Thomas.