TOM Killick has admitted summer is the most “stressful” time of his year – and said his attempts to lure new players to Poole Town reminded him of Saturday nights during his youth.

Killick led his team to an impressive fifth-placed finish in National League South, six years after he had masterminded their promotion from the Wessex League.

But his efforts to add fresh blood to the squad have, thus far, seen him chasing up a succession of blind alleys.

Killick told the Daily Echo: “You look forward to having a bit of a break but, in some ways, this is the worst part of the year. There is quite a lot of aggravation and no football!

“It is quite stressful. At this level, recruitment and retaining the players you want to keep is even more important than it is for professional teams.

“They have far more time to develop and improve their players. Because we have less contact time with them, recruitment becomes even more important.

“We were very close to bringing in someone who was extremely keen to come. But, in the end, his club exercised their right to retain him, so we would have had to pay a fee, which we weren’t in a position to do.

“It’s like my standard Saturday nights out used to be. I’m approaching a lot of people and being rejected by an awful lot of them!

“We have been quite successful so I am looking for players who, at our level, are of a high-calibre. But there is always a lot of competition to sign them.”

Killick – who revealed the deal that fell through was for a player from a lower division club – is nevertheless prioritising keeping together a squad whose core has been instrumental in the club’s remarkable ascent through the leagues.

“This summer is more about retention, rather than large-scale recruitment,” continued the Poole boss.

“I want to keep the group together and that is what I am concentrating my efforts on.

“I am hopeful we will do that, but you never know until it is done and dusted.

“We feel one of our strengths as a club is the players’ attachment to each other, they have been together a long time.

“I am certain the collective number of appearances made by our players would exceed those at any other club in the division.

“The only other team with a similar record would be Hungerford. And I don’t think it is any coincidence that they are quite successful as well.

“One of my biggest objectives is to create an environment where people are happy.

“I hope we have got that and I want people to stay.

“We may bring in one or two but it will be very low key, in terms of acquisitions.

“And if I have to start next season with the same group of players, that is what I will do.”