Published: 06:00, 22 July 2021
Ashford manager Tommy Warrilow can afford to be selective when it comes to trialists.
The Nuts & Bolts have retained all bar three of last season’s squad, leaving limited spaces for new recruits.
Warrilow has run his eye over several players in their opening friendlies and has others waiting in the wings.
He’s challenged those who don’t make the cut at Homelands to make it elsewhere.
“You want to give people a chance of finding another club, rather than stringing them along,” said Warrilow.
“They might not like what they hear but that’s football.
“Go and prove me wrong. You won’t be the first player to do that. That’s how it goes.
“Sometimes a player goes to a club and it doesn’t happen and then they go somewhere else and fly.
“That’s at all levels. Look at Kevin de Bruyne when he went to Chelsea, he didn’t get a look-in there and now he’s one of the best players in the world at Man City.
“You’ve just got to get on with it, which is why I’ve never taken anything personally in football, and you also have to be honest with yourself as a player.
“It’s harsh because it’s a massive gap since they last kicked a football and you’ve really got to blow the cobwebs out, but that’s the way it’s got to be.
“I’ve got to do what’s right for Ashford United.
“It’s not a nice bit of management, telling someone it just hasn’t worked for one reason or another, but that doesn’t mean you’re a poor player.
“We’ve got to make decisions because we’ve other trialists who want to come in as well.
“But the good thing is we don’t need loads of trialists because there’s only a few positions to fill. That’s the beauty of the majority of the squad staying on.
“There’s only three that haven’t come back, which is brilliant, because normally you have to rebuild every year.
“We’ve kept the nucleus - it’s just a case of filling in some holes.”
Ashford lost 4-1 at National League Dover on Saturday - Jack Steventon with a consolation - and the same man scored in a 1-0 win against Isthmian Premier Margate on Tuesday night.
Warrilow likes playing teams from higher levels in friendlies.
“The higher you go, the more you’re going to learn,” he said.
“It’s a good experience playing teams like Dover where you’re not going to get things your own way.
“Everyone wants everything perfect straight away these days but you’ve got to remember these boys haven’t kicked a ball for a year.
“They’re going to be rusty but, to be fair, I’m more than happy with what I’ve seen, and we’re only going to get stronger.”
Homelands tenants Kennington - newly promoted to the Southern Counties East Premier Division - are next up for Ashford on Saturday.
“They’ve grown as a club, it’ll be a nice local one,” said Warrilow.
“They do it the right way, they’re good lads, they look the part and they backed it up with a promotion, which is brilliant.”