NEW Wagga City Wanderers coach Dave Leonard believes Capital Football's decision to defer promotion-relegation this year will prove an ideal result for the club in the long run.
After winning their maiden National Premier League Two title with a thrilling grand final win over Yoogali, the Wanderers would have earned the right to step up to the top division in a normal year.
But a shortened season due to the COVID shutdown took that option off the table, and Leonard is happy it wasn't a decision the club had to make.
"Definitely for us at this stage, not having that on the table was a good thing," Leonard said.
"I just don't think we are quite up to the pace and level you need for NPL One. It's like first and reserve grade, it's a step up and once we get to that level we'd probably be looking to get a couple of imports in key positions, but it's good to not be concerned about that this season."
This year was a watershed season for the Wanderers after they complemented a first NPL Two title with victory in the under-23 competition.
Leonard was assistant to Liam Dedini in 2019, who returns to the post this year, when the club took out the under-20s title, which puts him in a great position to ease their best youngsters into the first team set-up.
"I'm definitely taking some of the 23 boys up at this stage. The quality of players we've got makes it really exciting," Leonard said.
"Not only are we worried we've got so many quality players, we're rubbing our hands together at the same time."
Leonard is keen to establish a stronger relationship with the local Pascoe Cup competition, and said their success has already helped convince a number of new faces to try out with the Wanderers.
"The boys have been spoken to over the years and they've thought now it's probably a good time to come across," Leonard said.
"There's a few new bodies which is really pleasing, and it's the first time this year we're faced with the prospect of having to cull players.
"We'll probably wait until we get to the back end of January (to do so), we'll wait until we get some commitment or otherwise from players and then assess from there.
"I was with (Wagga) United for a long time and when we won the 2013 grand final we lost about six guys to the Wanderers. At no stage did I have any animosity at all, because it's all about providing that pathway.
"Sometimes people don't get there's bigger things outside the Pascoe Cup and we don't want it to be 'them and us', that's not even in our vocabulary."
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