PICKERING Town’s promoted squad will be given the chance to prove their mettle at Evo-Stik League level, but there will be no room for sentiment if they don’t measure up to the challenge.

That was the message from Pikes chief Paul Marshall this week, as he plans to build on the Mill Lane club’s runners-up finish in the Northern Counties East League last term.

Ten players from the 2017/18 roster have already agreed deals to carry on playing for Pickering next season, including prolific forwards Ryan Blott and Billy Logan.

Blott plundered 45 league goals – eight more than any other player in the division – during a historic campaign that concluded with Logan also netting 19 times in 18 fixtures.

Others from last season’s successful side that have put pen to paper are Ged Dalton, Frankie Belt, Ryan Cooper, George Bissett, Eddy Birch, Joe Danby, Lewis Taylor and Matty Turnbull.

On his hopes that the existing team members can make the next step up, Marshall said: “They’ve all done that well that they deserve a crack at it. I’m still looking for a few more players and, if I can find better ones I will do, but I absolutely believe that our squad last season would finish mid-table in the Evo-Stik and that’s our minimum requirement.

“We’ve got lads who haven’t played at that level before who want to test themselves and I will give them that chance as manager but, if they’re not good enough, I’ll sell them, because we’re not just there to make up the numbers.”

On the importance of retaining former Conference forward Blott, Marshall added: “Blotty has done his bit at Scarborough and he’s now a player-coach with us as he thinks about the end of his playing days, but he got 45 league goals last season and is full of confidence. He’s only 29 and I believe he can get quite a few again.”

Pickering will report for pre-season training on Thursday, July 5 and play their first friendly two days later.

Warm-up fixtures have been arranged at Knaresborough, Garforth, Selby Town and FA Vase finalists Stockton Town, while Scarborough will travel to face Marshall’s men on Thursday, August 9, although plans to host League Two Lincoln City have not come to fruition.

The Pikes’ Evo-Stik Northern Premier League division one east curtain-raiser will then take place on Saturday, August 18.