THE close season this year has been one of the shortest possible for Malpas FC boss Lea Edge. Last season’s promotion from the Cheshire League’s First Division has meant a lot of effort behind the scenes to meet the criteria required to bring Step 7 football to the village club. A new stand is taking shape, with cables in for floodlights and the pitch has been worked on to give the best playing surface possible in time for the start of the season in a few weeks time. The club has a new chairman with John Barlow taking over the running of the club and Dave Roycroft has moved into the Director of Football role. The club will again run three teams - all playing in the Cheshire Leagues. The under 21’s will be run by Richard Desman while the second team will see Eddy Morris take over from Dave Roycroft while Edge will helm the senior squad for his fourth season. “We hit our target last season, gaining promotion to the Cheshire Premier League, but missing out on two cup finals was hugely disappointing as we didn’t perform to the standards we are capable of in either,” said Edge. "We have a massive challenge ahead of us as we move to the next level and the players are very clear on what we are going into and the target is to stay in the Premier Division and look to continue moving forward with steady steps. That means laying sound foundations off the pitch, which is totally the right way of going about things in my eyes.  “It is always a challenge to keep your best players and it’s been hard on this front with things happening so late. Steve Watkins - captain for the last three years - has moved to Whitchurch Alport who have been accepted into the NWCL league, and I fully understand his reasons for leaving. “He left on great terms as we have worked hard  together for this club and the success it has brought us. Other players have had offers but as it stands, are staying at Malpas although we accept there is time for things to change. A number of new players have joined the club in time for the pre-season games which have already started.”