JAKE Woods is enjoying being involved as part of Askam United's new management team as he continues his recovery from a long-term injury.

Woods took charge of the team for the second half of the 2017-18 season at Duddon Road following Ben Shirley's decision to step down and will continue in a coaching role for the coming campaign after being named as new boss Dave Tomaszko's assistant.

The defender still harbours hopes of making a comeback on the playing front as well, but having the opportunity to stay involved with the Askam squad in this capacity has allowed him to retain that connection with his team-mates.

“It's difficult and obviously there are a lot of hard decisions to make, especially when you're managing your mates, but I enjoyed it,” said Woods, reflecting on his stint as caretaker manager.

“We had a couple of ups and downs, but it's good to step back into the assistant role.

“Because I'm not playing at the moment, it's good to still be in that environment and be in with the craic.

"It's good to be involved with the football side of things as well and being involved is the main thing for me, and I'm glad I've got another opportunity to do so.

“It's something I want to do in the next couple of years and if my injury recovery doesn't go as well then it's something I can maybe step back into, and it's always good to pick up new ideas of experienced coaches.”

United ended last season in the lower part of West Lancashire League Division One, with goals in the closing stages of matches proving particularly costly on several occasions.

To that end, the squad – with a couple of new faces – returned to pre-season training last week to work on improving their fitness levels, with an earlier finish to last season than many of their divisional rivals giving everyone plenty of time to rest and recuperate.

It is hoped this will lead to avoiding those late lapses which led to defeats, with Tomaszko and Woods getting to see how the side are shaping up when Askam play their first pre-season friendly against Holker Old Boys on Friday, July 6.

“We lost a lot of games last year conceding goals in the last five or 10 minutes, so the football side of the committee made a decision to get back a week or two earlier than other clubs,” said Woods.

“But we finished earlier than a lot of clubs as well, so we've probably had the same time off as other clubs and have started the pre-season earlier because we ended the season early.

“From a fitness point of view, we want to get fit and don't want to be losing games in the last five or 10 minutes, so that's why we decided to start a little bit earlier.

“Dave has come in and he is very ambitious, which is good and is exactly what we need. He's said he's here to win games and that's what he's in the coaching game for, not just to go out and consolidate a mid-table position.”

Meanwhile, Holker will host promoted Garstang in the first round of the North West Counties League First Division Cup on September 8, with the winner of that tie travelling to Longridge Town on October 6.

Guy Heffernan's men will be at home in the Macron Cup first round as well, with fellow First Division North side Lower Breck visiting Rakesmoor Lane on October 20.

The winners face either St Martins or Cammell Laird 1907 away in round two on November 10.