Defeat in the St Mary’s Cup may not have been the ideal way to end the season, but Kings Langley boss Paul Hobbs says he learned plenty from the loss.
Jack Read scored the only goal of the game as Tring Athletic claimed a 1-0 win on Friday night.
Hobbs opted to field a much-changed starting XI, with lesser-used players given a chance to impress, and he says the display has added clarity to his view on where he needs to strengthen.
“I gave some of the squad players a chance to show what they can do, some of them did well and some didn’t,” Hobbs said.
“At the end of the day it is a charity cup and the performance was as important as the result.
“I learned a lot from it. I need to improve the squad for next season if we are going to compete in the same division.”
Friday’s defeat, while disappointing, will not define Kings’ season and survival in the Southern League Premier Division, which was secured with a final day win over Cirencester, was always objective number one.
Hobbs’ stabilising presence played an important role in keeping Kings up and he says losing the cup final cannot detract from an impressive campaign.
“It can’t take away from the achievement of the season, a lot of people have said that to me,” he said.
“I would have sacrificed any cup competition to stay in the league and that is what we did.
“Take nothing away from Tring, they turned up with nothing to lose against a side above them in league status. It wasn’t a brilliant game, but it was the result they deserved.”
Having originally taken over on a short-term basis, Hobbs says the decision to stay on into another season at Gaywood Park was far from a formality.
The arrival of Jeremy Wilkins as chairman was announced at the same time as Hobbs’ decision to stay and the former had a big influence on the latter’s future.
“We came to an agreement that the aim was to stay in the league and establish ourselves at this level. That is what we both wanted,” Hobbs said.
“It was a hard decision if I am perfectly honest. If we had gone down it would have been easier. I would have stayed on because I would have wanted to to get us back up.
“Jeremy talked me round form being 90 per cent sure I would stay by ticking all the boxes I needed.”
A brief and hard-earned break from football is next on Hobbs’ agenda before he begins preparation for next season.
He is aware of the need to strengthen if kings are to remain competitive and will look to add to his squad this summer.
“Financially there is more money available,” he said.
“I am not going to name names but there will definitely be some fresh faces coming in.”