THE ROCKS have secured the services of two of last season’s key men – and another five are set to commit themselves to the cause.
Versatile James Crane and midfielder Kane Wills have both signed contracts for 2012-13, while centre-half Stuart Axten and winger Ben Johnson have agreed to follow suit.
In addition, Craig Stoner, Dan Beck and Darryl Wollers have all told the management they will be staying.
It’s great news for Rocks fans on top of the likes of utility man Ben Andrews and striker Terry Dodd, who were already on contracts taking them to the end of next season.
Next in the club’s sights is defender Jon Marzetti, who they’re hoping to persuade to stay. But the future of forward pair Ashley Robinson and Steve Harper remains less clear.
Joint manager Jamie Howell said he was delighted to get so many key players tied down for the new campaign.
“We’ve spoken to most of the players and generally, they are happy here and want to stay.
“We are working to get them signing contracts and want to avoid the sort of situation we had a couple of times last year where clubs came in and took good players from us who were not contracted.
“We will also be bringing in some younger players - people like Dan Simmonds and Kenneth O’Hagan - and then in pre-season we can look at who else we need.”
Howell was speaking after the non-league powers-that-be confirmed the Rocks would be playing in the Ryman premier next season and not, as some feared, the Southern premier.
It’s a league which will pit the Rocks against a number of teams they’ve not played for many years and some they’ve never faced.
Opponents will include Lowestoft, Leiston, Enfield Town, Concord Rangers and Wingate & Finchley - while others include more familiar rivals like Whitehawk, Met Police, Lewes and Hastings.
Howell said: “I think it’s quite an exciting league. Where as in division one south there are some grounds you don’t fancy going to because of the pitch, that’s not the case in the premier.