Luke Garrard is backing his new look Boreham Wood charges to help turn the frowns upside down at Meadow Park – and once again become the National League’s dark horses.
Garrard led the Hertfordshire club to the top-flight play-off final in 2017-18 but suffered a miserable campaign last time round, finishing just above the relegation places.
The Wood boss has responded this summer by bringing in a brand new spine to his side with defender Jordan Thompson this week joining the experienced Piero Mingoia, former Aldershot midfielder Adam McDonnell, National League title winner Tyrone Marsh and prolific striker Kabongo Tshimanga, inset, in signing.
And Garrard hopes the arrival of his new brigade can help lift Wood out of the doldrums and back into promotion contention next season.
“There is no doubt that we want to be far more competitive than last season,” he told The NLP.
“I knew we needed four or five bits of real quality and I am delighted that we have managed to get these signings over the line.
“We have got a group of about 12 left over from last season, many of whom were part of the side that made it to Wembley so I am really excited to see what the next few months will hold.
“We had to be patient with our transfer business. You get some clubs that get all of their signings done in the first few weeks of the summer but we bided our time and waited for the right players.”
It’s hard to think that it’s just 14 months ago that Wood came within 90 minutes of reaching the Football League for the first time, eventually going down 2-1 to 10-man Tranmere Rovers at Wembley.
And it’s those memories which make Garrard hungrier for success than ever before.
“Ask any manager that has made it to a play-off final and lost. It is impossible not to sometimes think about the what ifs,” he added.
“We lost a lot of that squad last summer and the National League waits for no one, so it was really tough.
“We need to develop a bit of consistency. We don’t want to be one of those yo-yo clubs.
“Coming fourth one year and then being stuck in a relegation battle the next season isn’t what we want. We want to be sustainable.”
A raft of new players is not the only sign of progress this summer. State-of-the-art changing rooms have been installed, while building work is now completed on a new North Stand.
“I left on June 9th and came back on the 29th and the transformation over those 20 days was unbelievable,” said a proud Garrard.
“When I walked into the building it was an absolute privilege to call myself the manager of Boreham Wood.
“The facilities that we have got here show just how ambitious everyone is at the club and walking players and staff around the new changing rooms energised the whole group.
“Things are really coming together both on and off the pitch.
“This league is going to be even harder than last season with teams like Torquay and Stockport coming up but we are ready for the test and I can’t wait for it all to start!”
By Hugo Varley