THE new football season is on the horizon, and Silsden manager Danny Forrest has many reasons to be cheerful.

He talked all about the club's trio of signings, former Eccleshill United forwards Jake Thompson and Antony Brown, as well as ex-Albion Sports defender Lewis Morgan, why he feels being back in training has been important, and how the new facilities at the club should be ready in a matter of weeks.

Discussing the new boys, he said: "I've known Jake quite a while. I coached at Halifax Town when he was in the youth team there.

"I've known him for about four years and had my eye on him for a while. He gets at people down the wing. He's exciting, with lots of ability, and he improves us.

"I've tracked Ant's progress and his career. I tried to get him last summer but he was settled then.

"But after an up and down season, I think he just wants to get his love back for the game.

"We would've liked he and Laurence Sorhaindo (the young striker has left to join Brighouse Town) in the same team, but instead we might be looking at Ant filling that gap.

"He turned down other clubs for us and both he and Jake have that desire to be here.

"Having spent a year in the Northern Counties East League, more people have seen us and more clubs have seen how we operate. I think that's helped us recruit.

"I've known Lewis for a long time as I was in the youth team at Bradford City with one of his older brothers.

"He's only 25 but he's been around for a while and knows what's needed at this level.

"A fit, dedicated and committed Lewis means we have a real player on our hands."

Forrest is pleased with the team as a whole though, saying: "I'm happy with the squad and just as important as the three signings was keeping the majority of those who were here last season.

"I'm not saying we're going to win the league, or definitely get top six, but the target is to improve (from last season's 10th place in the NCEL Premier Division), and with those signings, added to a good squad, we have a decent chance of doing well."

Forrest said everyone had adapted well to being back in training, and added: "We've been training for three or four weeks, strictly following the guidelines, even going above and beyond at times.

"I felt it was needed as we hadn't played since March. Lockdown has affected people in many ways and I know it's caused a lot of mental health problems for people.

"We have a great team spirit and the players enjoy each other's company, so we thought why don't we do it (training) together?

"I know boredom has been mentioned but it never put us off. We've been able to put on creative sessions and the players have been well engaged."

Friendlies can now take place from August 1, behind closed doors, ahead of the season possibly starting in front of fans in early September.

Forrest confirmed away games with Prestwich Heys, Ilkley Town, Barnoldswick Town and Oxenhope Recreation had been arranged, a clash with Padiham was just waiting on a venue, while they are set to host Clitheroe.

He said they are hoping to confirm one more home game too, though matches there are dependent on their new facilities being finished.

But Forrest is confident on that front, saying: "We're hoping the new facilities will be ready for mid-August.

"In that sense, the time off has been a blessing, giving Cobbydale Construction time to get it right.

"The new stand is being manufactured, the hospitality suite is about 50 per cent done, and the terrace is coming on too.

"I go down two or three times a week. There's a lot going on off the pitch and a really good feel around the club."