In his first full season as assistant manager of Yeovil Town, Terry Skiverton is confident that a team remodelled and rebuilt under boss Gary Johnson can make a positive start to the season.
When Skiverton was manager, Yeovil relied heavily on the loan market to bolster their squad. But this season has seen a change of tack, with Johnson keen to get the majority of the starting XI contracted to the club.
"The manager has gone about it in a different way [this season]," said Skiverton. "We are only looking for one or two to bring in still, so I think the squad is pretty much settled.
"It is very strong, we have got a lot of players on contract this year, which has really helped us to get the players in early and buy in to what we are trying to do.
"The good part is that it's a jigsaw where all the pieces are off the table at the minute, and it's about putting them together and creating the right team and environment to hit the ground running.
"I will make no bones about the last couple of seasons, we have not had great starts. We are looking to get off on the front foot here and, with what the manager is doing, we are really looking to push on. We have got a tough start, so we need to make sure that we are hitting the ground running."
Skiverton admitted he has enjoyed working with Johnson since the latter's return to Somerset in January for a second stint at the club, and believes the team will benefit from the manager's considered approach to recruitment.
Over the summer, Johnson has recruited ten new faces as well as renewing the contracts for some of the key players from last season. Skiverton revealed the club may look to add to that total but he believes the early business completed at Huish Park will pay off.
"Because we have got so many contracted players in at the moment, we can afford to be cautious in making the right decision and people have got plenty of time," he said. "There is no rush, but when the manager feels he is ready to bring in players we know, we will be adding to the squad. They are going to have to have the quality to be pushing for a first-team place."
Johnson and Skiverton will cast their eyes over a small selection of trialists in the upcoming pre-season friendlies – which continue at Poole Town tonight – with a view to adding to the first team.
Skiverton said: "We have had one or two that we have been looking at as well, so it has been nice just to sit back and watch them play and watch them train and see who will been vying for that shirt in the first XI."
Skiverton is enjoying learning from Johnson, the man who brought him to the club for whom he made over 300 appearances as the pair led Yeovil, as manager and captain, to two promotions and an FA Trophy victory. Apart from anything else, the 36-year-old former centre-half admits he is learning a few new tricks of the trade.
"One thing I am doing is learning the way that Gary does things," said Skiverton. "It has been nice for me to work so closely with him, and he has been sharing a lot of his secrets with me.
"It has been eye-opening to see how he does things and I think we have been working really well together, along with Darren Way."
Way, who also played under Johnson, makes up the managerial trio since the departure of ex-assistant Nathan Jones to Charlton Athletic, and Skiverton is enjoying the dynamics of the coaching set-up.
He said: "Darren has been magnificent in the bits of sessions that he takes and I think the team has worked really well so far this pre-season.
"With the manager and the way that his teams have always played, it is exciting, it is attacking.
"We are seeing some really good performances in training and, now we are coming up to the games, we are looking for the transition from the training to go into the games."