Wick Academy boss Gary Manson hopes to tie up the remainder of his out-of-contract squad in the next week.
The Scorries announced eight players had signed new deals a week ago, with Manson expecting at least another four players to commit their futures to the club.
An unusual circumstance of around 14 players being out of contract had meant a busy period for the new manager, who was installed in permanent charge last month. As well as organising his playing squad, he has been trying to finalise a backroom team for when training can resume.
Jack Halliday, Ryan Campbell, Craig Gunn, Jonah Martens, Gordon Clark, Ross Allan, Alan Hughes and Jack Henry all signed on for the 2020-21 season last week, with Manson expecting more developments to come.
He said: “I don’t know how it’s happened, with 14 players being out of contract, but they were always going to sign. It was just a matter of getting them sat down to sign the contracts.
“It’s good to have them over the line and to know exactly what I have to work with when we get back. There should be news out this week with hopefully another batch of four or five signed up.
“The squad is well-balanced. We do have experienced, older heads like Craig Gunn and Richard Macadie, guys that have been there and done it. Then there’s the mid-range guys in their mid-20s trying to force their way into the Highland League reckon, followed by young guys looking to prove themselves. If I can add one or two to help them out then I’d be happy.”
Long-serving midfielder Sam Mackay retired from football at the end of last season, while Manson does not intend to play much this season, although he will remain registered as a player. Centre-half Grant Steven is out long-term with a knee injury while 17-year-old Mark Macadie will join up with the first-team squad this season.
Manson added: “He’ll be pushing for a first-team spot, although it is quite rare to get ones (at that age) that are ready to go into the first team.
“We’re a little bit short on defensive options with Grant being out long-term and we’d like another midfielder if possible.”
Wick’s record appearance-holder is keen to look at options to improve the club’s youth setup, particularly providing a pathway for players to make the jump from the under-17s to the first-team. They do not currently have an under-20s side.
Manson said: “We’re lucky in that there’s two teams in the North Caledonian League – Thurso and Halkirk – so it might be an option to send players on loan to those teams.
“There’s a lot of expense involved in running an under-20s team. I know Nairn County have put a team into the North Caledonian League, which would be the ideal solution, but because of where we are the costs of running buses might be a stretch too far.”