Chichester City manager Adie Girdler is in high spirits ahead of the new season and believes his side of youngsters are fully equipped to contend with their Sussex League first-division rivals.
Girlder is aiming to build on last year’s difficult season, and believes youth is key to City’s success.
He has turned negatives to positives in this summer’s transfer market after losing important first-team members such as Tom Broadbent – who moved to Pagham - and Callum Cutler, who joined Wick.
He has re-built Chichester’s foundations on signing young prospects as well as developing players from their youth set-up.
The influx of youngsters has breathed new life into Chichester and has been a cause for optimism among supporters after they watched them in action during pre-season.
Girdler is pleased they’ve all settled into the team so well and the City boss is also confident they will all have a role to play in the coming season.
Chichester kick off their league campaign at home to promoted AFC Uckfield on Saturday.
Girlder said: “For us, this pre-season hasn’t been all about the results. We’ve used the opportunity to take a look at the kids.
“Although we’ve lost a couple of important players, we feel that we’ve replaced them well.
“We’ve also brought through a few kids from our youth team during pre-season, and they’ve all impressed me. “Tom Groome, Tom Moore, Ben Vassello and Mike Turvey have all done well.”
In addition to Chichester’s home-grown products, Girlder insists City’s recruiting is not yet done.
Girdler added: “Lewi (Edwards) is another player who has impressed me. At the moment we are trying to sign him, and he could be here for Saturday’s game.
“We are also looking to sign another midfielder.”
Girlder is wary over the threat newly-promoted AFC Uckfield may pose on Saturday.
Girdler said: “It certainly won’t be easy. They were promoted last year as champions - and worthy ones.
“But I believe we’ve got a good side here, and we want to make Chichester a difficult place for teams to come.”
Girlder is hopeful Turvey, Steve Cotton and Vassallo will all manage to shake off injuries they’ve sustained during pre-season in-order to feature in Chichester’s first game.