Boss Ash Berry says Shelley’s home friendlies against AFC Emley on Tuesday (7.00) and FC United of Manchester this Saturday (3.00) provide the perfect chance to showcase the progress being made on and off the field by the ambitious West Yorkshire League club.
And the visit of Northern Counties East League First Division Emley will also provide a useful gauge of the standard former District League team Shelley need to reach as they eye the same step up the non-league pyramid just taken by Penistone Church, promoted from the Sheffield County Senior League.
Shelley have made steady progress on developing their Storthes Hall Park home, with the installation of floodlights and roofing the seated area next on the agenda.
Meanwhile Berry has begun a recruitment drive which has already resulted in five new faces as he aims for a top-six place in the WYL Premier Division after last season’s 12th-placed finish in the first season following promotion.
Centre-back Andy Markham has been signed from NCEL Premier Division club Liversedge, while the experienced Berry has brought in teenage keeper Ryan Hawley, who has been released by Scunthorpe and comes from Holmifrth.
Full-back Dan Morgan and winger Jack Greene have joined from West Riding County Amateur League Kirkburton and midfielder George Oakley from District League Hepworth United.
“I’m happy with the shape of the squad and I’m still looking to bring in a couple more,” explained Berry.
“People said last season was all about establishing ourselves in the West Yorkshire Premier Division, because we have come a long way in a short time, but I was still disappointed with where we finished.
“We all have a bit more knowledge and experience this time around, and I really want to be pushing for top six.
“This club is ambitious, and we want to take that step up into the Northern Counties East, but you have to lay solid foundations.
“We always said we wanted a flourishing junior system, and we have worked hard on that.
“The ground is coming along nicely, and the first team are going in the right direction.”
The Emley clash will be Shelley’s second pre-season game after Saturday’s 5-2 away defeat by Maltby Main, of the NCEL Premier Division.
FC United, of the Northern Premier League Premier Division, also visited Shelley last season, winning 6-0.
“They are both great games for us, and hopefully for football fans in this area,” added Berry.
“We’d love people to come up and see what we are all about.
“I have a lot of time for Emley and last year’s game against FC United, who are a well-supported club, was a brilliant experience.”
Shelley also have home friendlies against Leyland United (Saturday, July 19, 3.00), Ossett Albion (Wednesday 23, 7.00), Tadcaster Albion (Monday 28, 7.00) and Clitheroe (Saturday, August 2, 2.00).
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