Emley AFC have been promoted to the Toolstation Northern Premier League Division 1 and manager Richard Tracey says his aim is more than just survival. 

The club revealed they had gained promotion last week as a result of a league shake-up, a reward for a consistent two years wrecked by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Now Tracey has the task of making sure they stay in the division. “That’s our first objective,” he said. “However I would love to think we can be really competitive. We’d look to build up points as quickly as possible and push on.” 

Tracey, 41, has belief in his squad and insists they’ll only bring players in if they need to. 

He said: “We know what we’ve got and we know what we might want to bring in. However we won’t be doing a lot of shopping because I’m confident this squad is good enough to do more than just stay up. 

“However if we can add that little bit of quality then we’ll be happy with that. We won’t rush into anything and we’ll be patient for the right players. 

Celebration time. Pic by: Mark Parsons

“If it’s the right fit for us then we’ll do something, if not then we won’t. We also want to promote youth through our younger teams too.” 

The club will need a new right-back as Marcus Haydock is leaving the club and moving closer to home for family reasons. Midfielder Kane Reece has also moved on. 

Tracey added: “We have lost a few players, one being our young right-back Marcus who lives in Bolton and needs to be closer to home. Kane Reece has transferred to Pontefract Collieries so there is scope to develop the squad.”

Tracey was delighted to hear the news of promotion, but his overriding feeling was one of pride in everyone involved in the club. 

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He said: “We are absolutely delighted. From my own personal point of view I can’t thank Andrew Painten (Emley chairman) and the rest of the committee enough. They have put a huge amount of work in behind the scenes to make this happen. I am really proud of everyone’s efforts – players, staff, volunteers and fans. 

“I think whilst we deserve it, I believe everyone in the changing room would have wanted to gain promotion by playing. In hindsight it doesn’t really matter, we’ve achieved it finally and that’s the most important thing.” 

Tracey had four years in charge at Ossett but his two seasons at Emley have both been curtailed so he’s hoping it’s third time lucky to complete a full campaign.

“I have really enjoyed being at Emley and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how far we can go,” he said. “I’d like us to carry on moving forward and keep the momentum going.”