Bognor's new 'dream team' can't wait to get stuck in

Sami El-Abd scores against Crawley in the Sussex Senior Cup semi-final / Picture by Tim Hale
Sami El-Abd scores against Crawley in the Sussex Senior Cup semi-final / Picture by Tim Hale
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New Rocks player-manager Sami El-Abd said he couldn't wait to get started in the role - but stressed it would be a team effort.

The Rocks centre-half was named today as Jamie Howell's successor at Nyewood Lane after a seven-week process by the club to fill the vacancy.

Gary Charman will assist him and with Darin Killpartrick continuing as coach, El-Abd is confident the management team is strong enough to lead Bognor into the National League South campaign.

El-Abd's appointment is proving a popular one with fans, the 29-year-old having established himself as a firm favourite in his two seasons as a player at the Lane.

El-Abd told the Bognor Observer; 'I'm delighted Gary and myself have been given this opportunity. We know the club and that will be to our advantage. We're looking forward to getting started."

The former Whitehawk, Crawley and Chelmsford centre-half emerged as a candidate for the job during a hunt for the right man that saw a total of nine contenders interviewed formally or at least spoken to.

He admitted he did not have management experience but felt the background Charman had as boss of Horsham, together with Killpartrick's long years of service to the Rocks in a coaching role, would stand them and the team in good stead.

El-Abd said priorities now included getting pre-season off to a strong start and searching for the new players who could give the Rocks' squad a stronger look for the start of the new season in early August.

He urged fans not to panic at the fact only one player had signed so far, saying it was a quiet time of year for most clubs and the gaps in the squad would be filled.

El-Abd and Charman have each been with Bognor for two seasons, El-Abd having joined from Peacehaven and Charman from Horsham, where he was manager for several seasons in the Ryman League.