PRESTWICH Heys manager Jon Lyons is already preparing for next season after what he feels has been a disappointing campaign.

After seeing the home game against Cleator Moor Celtic postponed on Saturday due to a waterlogged pitch and re-arranged for this Saturday (3pm), Lyons took time to reflect on this season and look towards the next.

With just seven games remaining, Heys are fifth in the Hallmark Security League Division One table but have no chance of promotion or silverware, something of a rarity in recent times.

When asked if it would be fair to say things had not quite gone as he would have hoped, Lyons replied: “I would 100-per-cent agree with that statement. In pre-season we were all full of confidence we would be up challenging for the league. We started well and had the excitement of the FA Cup, but never kicked on from there.”

The Heys joint-manager cited several reasons and made a frank admission why he thought that. “We have not had much luck with injuries and increased work commitments to key players for one,” he said. “We have had some big decisions go against us in key games which may have made a difference, both in those individual games and in terms of longer-term momentum.

“However, I also have to say [joint manger] Ryan Hutchinson and I did not bring in the right players at the start of the season and we have, therefore, had to adjust the squad on the go, as it were.”

Lyons admits he has been unable to find a few – if any – positives from the campaign, adding: “To be fair, I don’t think there have been many. There was the seven-match winning run around New Year that gave us what proved to be false hope we may be able to salvage something.

“However, both myself and Ryan are young managers and we’ve learned a lot this season which can only help as we move forward. Bringing in young lads like Will Shawcross, Liam Healey and James Dwyer, for example, has been rewarding.”

The season has seen a high turnover of players, but it is noticeable those coming in have been young.

So was that a conscious decision?

“Yes and no,”said Lyons. “The lads who have come and gone were never a big part of our plans, just squad players until key players like Danny and Max White, Dom Slaven and Lee Bruce were available again.

“But we’ve watched the likes of Will and James and they will help the club move forward.”

Though targeting a strong end to the season, Lyons revealed they are already planning for next year.

“We want to finish in the top four and get an FA Cup place, but our main aim is to build for next season and get some questions answered about players and formation.

“We can then go into the summer and pre-season knowing what we want.”

Success has never been far away during Lyons’ time at Adie Moran Park – he marked seven years and 300 games in charge last November – and says he has not finished yet.

“I still have many ambitions as to what I want to achieve at Heys,” he added.

“My biggest memories must be the treble-winning season and returning to the North West Counties League, as well as winning the First Division Cup last year, the club’s first trophy at this level.

“But my first season, staying in the Manchester League Premier Division from a seemingly impossible situation, was special. That laid the foundation for what has followed.

“Whilst this year has been disappointing, my most immediate aim is to get us in the North West Counties Premier Division, by winning the league next season.”