ECCLESHILL United boss Lee Elam believes it will take longer than he originally expected for his project to bear fruit in Bradford.

In May, only a year after departing, Elam made the decision to return to The Eagles following Ryan Toulson’s choice to step down as manager, after he endured a tricky season with the club.

Unfortunately, things haven’t gone to plan, as Eccleshill continue to struggle in 19th out of a possible 20 in the NCEL Premier Division and sit one point above the drop zone, although they do have two games in hand on Maltby Main in 20th.

Giving his thoughts on United’s current situation, Elam said: “It was obviously going to be a rebuilding process when I returned because there was only two of my original squad members still at the club.

“From there I tried to rebuild quickly and brought in a few younger lads, who probably lacked a bit of experience and knowhow. I like to give players time to develop, and I’ve done that again this time around, but unfortunately it hasn’t worked out for some of the lads.

“We’ve accepted that the rebuild will take a bit longer, but like I did last time, we will look to meet our goals. The aim is now to stay up and continue rebuilding for next year.”

Despite conceding that the project might take longer to click into gear, Elam admitted that he still feels some scenarios this season could have been avoided.

“We have a young squad, granted, and that’s one of the reasons we are way we are this season, but I do think some of boys, perhaps because of age, have been a bit naive at points.

“For example, we’ve had players getting sent off in games and players making silly errors at bad moments in certain matches.

“The performances have been good at some stages but when we’ve lost games, a lot of it has been down to naivety and inexperience.

“However, this was a long-term project and I recently told myself that I’m not buying success, I’m building success, so it’s about getting that right in the future. Thankfully, the club understands the journey we are on and that means we can continue to progress in a positive way together.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Lee Elam (pictured) has full backing from the clubLee Elam (pictured) has full backing from the club (Image: Dan White Photography.)

Not only are the club fully committed to the cause, but so is Elam who confirmed that he’s willing to be in it for the long haul.

He said: “Yes, of course,” the Eccleshill boss said when asked whether his ambitions remain the same.

“Like last time I was here, which was in and around Covid, it took a bit of time and I’m prepared for that again, so I’ll continue to push on with this group.

“I feel like we’ve performed really well against some teams and that we aren’t a million miles away. Consistency is key for us, but we are aware that we will gain more consistency and experience through time and patience.”

Elam added: “And despite our position in the table, I’ve never been worried about the prospect of being relegated.

“Instead of looking behind, I’ve always been eyeing the team ahead of us because I feel we’ve got more than enough quality within this group, as we’ve shown in games such as the victory against Campion.

“It’s about turning them draws into wins, and then hopefully we’ll be okay.”

Eccleshill host 9th place Silsden on Saturday and Elam believes a victory is exactly what his team need to give them that added confident boost.

He said: “We’ve seen results improve in recent weeks, but we’ve drawn a few so it would be great to be able to get a victory.

“It would be a great confidence booster for the boys, and it would help to give us a lift at home in front of our own supporters.”

Eccleshill against Silsden kicks off at 3pm tomorrow afternoon.