Badshot Lea manager Gavin Smith saw plenty of positives after his side slipped to a 4-1 defeat at home to Southern League Premier South outfit Basingstoke Town in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday night.

“There were plenty of positives,” said Smith. “Both halves of football, with two different teams, were positive. A lot of players impressed – I think everyone did themselves justice. From our point of view the process is there with a whole new group of players. They listened and implemented it.

“There is still work to do going forward, but that's always the hardest bit to do, so the fact that both teams were able to do what we want against a side that were lively and put a lot of pressure on was positive.

“We gifted them a few goals. They were probably well worthy of scoring four goals, but I felt the goals they did score we gifted. We gave the ball away with sloppy passes, which happens when people don't know each other that well.

“There’s loads of positives. The group's got more players to add to it on Thursday, with people back from holiday, so the competition's getting really strong. I would say everyone has done themselves a good service.”

This summer has been a rebuilding job for the Baggies, with a number of important players leaving Westfield Lane for pastures new, but Smith is hoping to build on last season’s 11th-placed finish in the Isthmian League South Central Division.

“We obviously lost some key players and some really good players for the level,” said Smith. “The players were better than the level, some of them. Although we finished where we finished I felt there was a process there to push on this year, but where we're at as a club is that people are going to take our better players.

“We've got five or six left and the lads who come in are going to have to replicate what we did last year. I do feel we're further ahead now than we were last year with different players. I'd love to have a few of the boys back but we go again and see what we can produce with a new group of players.”

Smith is casting his eye over a number of trialists and has decisions to make as he looks to build his squad for the new campaign.

“We’ve got some tough decision to make,” said Smith. “Players maybe need a bit more of an opportunity, but we've got to be quite ruthless to get the numbers down to work with what we want and what we feel can do what we want to do for the season.

“There’s going to be some more tough decisions to make because everyone's done really well, so the competition's good. Training should be lively on Thursday.”

Next up for the Baggies is a pre-season friendly at home to Southern League Premier South outfit Gosport Borough on Saturday, July 13 (3pm), and Smith is looking forward to the game.

“It will be another really good test against Gosport – who are a very good side,” said Smith. “It will be hard work and if we can implement what we want against another good side like that then we know we're on the right path.”