HEREFORD chairman Jon Hale says that the club’s squad builder initiative has helped to propel the side to the ‘next level’ this season.

Bulls fans have donated over £50,000 to the scheme to support the budget of manager Josh Gowling ahead of the new season.

Hereford host Spennymoor Town in their league opener on Saturday and Hale says that the scheme has also brought the club together.

“The supporters have been absolutely fantastic and everyone has got behind it,” said Hale.

“What that it has done is brought everybody together. Just for the fact that we got to that target. I think everybody is back on board now and moving together as one again.

“It’s an absolute superb effort £50,000 is a lot of money and has made a massive difference to what Josh (Gowling) can do in the transfer market.

“Hopefully it keeps going, why not? Let’s see what we can do. Everybody knows that financially it’s not easy at this level, the Covid days made a big difference to finances, it certainly did here.

“We’d have loved to have given Josh (Gowling) a better base budget this season but we gave him exactly the same as we did last season and that’s where the squad builder has kicked in and propelled us to that next level.

“I can’t thank the fans enough they’ve shown a huge commitment.”

Hereford only won of their opening 10 league games last season after a pre-season which was dominated by trialists while signed players suffered injuries.

This pre-season has seen less trialists vying for a place in the Bulls squad while signed players have had more minutes on the pitch than the previous year.

Hale hopes that the more settled pre-season will create a better understanding within the squad going into the opening game.

“If you compare us to this time last summer it was all a bit of a rush in the end,” added Hale.

“There were lots of reasons behind that but it then affected us in the first 10 games of the season when we had a bit of a struggle.

“We’re much more settled and the players are enjoying the fact we’ve got a settled squad before we start.

“I think you get the understanding from that so when you do start the season you are ready and playing in a way that everybody knows, it’s nice to see it but there are still one or two spaces in the squad.

“It’s a really tough league, if you look at the amount of ex-Football League players who are coming down not right at the end of their careers now but in their 30s and they’ve still got plenty of legs in them so we’ve got to compete with that.”