ROCKS boss Jamie Howell says the club’s plans for the new season are ‘massively ahead’ of where they were at the same stage last summer.
Although they have so far signed only one new player – defender Sami El-Abd – the manager is sleeping easier knowing the vast majority of last season’s squad are coming back.
For each of the past two years, the squad has been assembled during pre-season and the opening weeks of the Ryman premier campaign – resulting in poor starts to the league programme.
But this summer only goalkeeper Chris Winterton has moved on and the coaching staff will be welcoming good numbers for the first pre-season session on June 29, and most of them will be players already well-versed in the Bognor way of playing.
Howell said work was going on to secure one or two more targets but said he was content with overall progress.
“There are a couple of players we’re talking to and I’d ask fans to be patient and not be alarmed that we are not signing lots,” Howell said.
I do feel that with so many from last season committing to us, we are only one or two away from having a good squad who can challenge.Jamie Howell
“I do feel that with so many from last season committing to us, we are only one or two away from having a good squad who can challenge.”
As reported a fortnight ago, central defender Craig Robson has signed for another year while others who have either signed or said they are coming back for 2015-16 are utility man Harvey Whyte, full-back Daryl Wollers, defenders Dan Sackman and James Crane, midfield men Doug Tuck and Jake Thomson and forwards Stuart Green, Alex Parsons and Terry Dodd.
Howell said Dodd had been working on his fitness during the summer while Whyte and Tuck had been seeing physio Rachel Rees to make sure they were 100 per cent following injuries that disrupted their 14-15 campaigns.
Howell admitted they were still without a keeper but added: “We have three or four irons in the fire on that one, and I’d be surprised if at least one didn’t become an option for us.
“Overall I think we’re massively ahead of where we were last year. We know we are going to have decent numbers for pre-season and we know the players we’ll have, which gives us a head start.
“The key will be getting a settled team ready for the first league game and avoid having the slow start we’ve had for the past couple of years.”
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