The presence of a number of trialists in pre-season training will put Ilkeston Town players on notice that they must perform.
Boss Steve Chettle says there will be players taking part in the sessions, which start next Tuesday, who want to earn a deal at the New Manor Ground.
That means the players he’s already signed have to be on their toes.
“I’ve got 19 signed players and I’ve got four coming in for pre-season, with potentially another four or five who want to come down and chance their arm,” he said.
“Like I’ve said to everyone, if they come down and do well, better than the others, then they’ll come in and the others will go out.
“We had meetings last year and meetings when we renegotiated deals, what happened last year was very good but it’s gone and we need to start on the front foot, as well as we can.”
Chettle is content with the squad he’s assembled so far, but may yet add another attacking option.
“The squad is okay at the minute,” he said.
“I’m still looking to find one person, potentially looking at a striker but that probably won’t happen until pre-season.
“If it doesn’t work out it doesn’t work out.”
The Robins boss is determined to add only quality however as the club looks to progress further up the non-league pyramid.
“We did really well last year, we got promotion, even if it was on the back of someone going back down.
“We’ve signed players who have all played at a higher level and that’s important.
“We want the club to progress and we need better players to do that.
“We won’t take just anyone, we’ve done our homework.”
When pre-season finally begins next week the players can expect to be put through their paces as strenuously as their counterparts at other clubs.
But the good news is that the football will make an appearance.
“The footballs are out, I’m a modern kind of coach,” said Chettle.
“It’ll be hard work but done with the football.
“There will be some old fashioned sweating and panting and hard running, but most of them have had pre-season with me and it’s all focused on the ball, working with the ball.”