ECCLESHILL United boss Lee Elam has confirmed the club’s desire to reach Step 4 of the National League System, after holding pre-season talks with their chairman.

The Bradford side were in eleventh spot, out of a possible twenty when the campaign was abandoned last year, but after discussion in the camp, Elam believes his side are capable of targeting promotion next season.

Discussing his side’s targets for next season, Elam said: “With the restructure taking place, it has opened up the league a little bit more, with clubs going up and down.

“Because of that, the confidence is high, and I’ve had a chat with the chairman, and we said that we would like to move forward and push on for promotion this year. That’s what I came to do and that’s what we will go for.”

Eccleshill have also re-signed one of their popular promotion winners from big Bradford rivals Albion Sports in Andy Cooper.

The midfielder and former captain helped the Eagles win promotion from Division One of the Northern Counties East League in 2017/18 under Sean Regan, as they won a play-off final against Grimsby Borough.

He then helped them to finish 10th in the Premier Division in 2018/19, before departing to join Knaresborough Town.

He was soon back in Bradford to play for Albion, scoring the winner in their 2-1 victory over Penistone Church last October.

But like his good friend Sam Bradley, he has made the move from Albion back to Eccleshill, and he cannot wait to get going under current boss Lee Elam, in what will hopefully be a normal 2021/22 season.

And Elam is also delighted with the capture of the midfielder.

He said: “We are delighted to have Andy at Eccleshill. After seeing him play last season, he’s really experienced and a top player.

“He is mobile, he gets around the pitch and he’s the exact kind of box-to-box midfielder we are looking for.

And discussing potential other incomings, Elam said: “We have had a serious injury to one of our lads, which could possibly result in a year’s absence, which means we will be in the market for a replacement.

“You have to replace injured players, or else you are a man down. But in total, we will be looking at brining in about three or four more players.

“Thankfully, we’ve kept hold of most of the squad, so I’m looking to keep them, develop them further and bring additions in to help provide competition for certain areas.”

And with pre-season commencing at Eccleshill in just under two weeks’ time, Elam’s side will face a tough challenge as they host Yorkshire Amateur on June 30.

Discussing his sides pre-season targets, Elam said: “We will focus a great deal of time on fitness and ensuring the players are up to speed. The season was stop start for a long time, so we need to get back in the right mode, as in being fit, energetic and wanting to get round the pitch.

“I will need this level of fitness from every player. Other areas we will look at are shape, our style of play and since I’ve been there, we’ve shipped a few goals, so I will certainly look at different ways to keep clean sheets."