Summer outlook has changed for City

Worcester News: Nick Toogood - 26/10/13. Worcester City v Lincoln City. FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round at Aggborough Stadium, Kidderminster. Worcester City's GEORGE WILLIAMS looks to get forward. (5799609) Nick Toogood - 26/10/13. Worcester City v Lincoln City. FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round at Aggborough Stadium, Kidderminster. Worcester City's GEORGE WILLIAMS looks to get forward. (5799609)

LAST summer, Worcester City pretty much started from scratch.

They were homeless, potless and even without enough players to make up a team.

How things have changed. While they still don't have a permanent base, nor flushed with cash, the outlook is eminently more positive.

They are settled at Aggborough, having agreed a second season with Kidderminster Harriers, and harbour genuine hope of returning to Worcester at Perdiswell now that stadium plans have been submitted to Worcester City Council.

Financially, as the result of prudent management and season-ticket sales, they are now in a position to offer contracts to players to avoid them being snapped for nothing by their rivals.

This is the crucial difference from 12 months ago. At the end of last season, no fewer than 10 players who had either been in or around the first-team jumped ship once the Blue and Whites left St George's Lane.

With City's prospects looking bleak, few could blame them but it left manager Carl Heeley with a major rebuilding job on his hands.

This summer, that doesn't appear to be the case. Worcester, in the end, survived comfortably in Skrill North with their new crop of players and are suddenly a much more attractive proposition.

Although there will inevitably be a few changes, Heeley will be hoping to retain the bulk of his squad rather than have to start from scratch again and undo all the progress that has been made.

He will no doubt be looking to keep the nucleus of his team and make tweaks around the edges.

Key to this will be persuading the likes of player-of-the-season George Williams and striker Daniel Nti to stay.

Having enjoyed impressive seasons since stepping up from Loughborough University, both could be forgiven if their heads were turned by offers from elsewhere.

But they are only 21 - a fact which is easy to overlook given some of their performances - and, while loyalty and football don't often go hand in hand, perhaps they owe City another season.

Heeley, and assistant Matt Gardiner, showed faith in the duo, along with Ebby Nelson-Addy and Graham Hutchison, and would likely point out that the grass isn't always greener.

Ellis Deeney is another player who will be high on the wish-list of players to keep. He made the transition from left-back to midfield with relative ease, while shouldering the responsibility of captain, and is well thought of among the majority of fans too.

I would also be tempted to hold on to Jose Veiga, Ethan Moore, Tyler Weir, Aaron Brown and Shabir Khan.

Wayne Thomas and Martin Devaney are others who would be of great benefit to City next season but Thomas has already hinted at retirement and Devaney might be a luxury Worcester cannot afford.

That said, the extra funds were made available to Heeley at the turn of year to recruit their experience and it helped keep the club in the division.

This summer, however, some of that might be channelled on a striker, an area in need desperate need of strengthening.

There are the makings of a good squad at City, the task now is to build on it.

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