Bognor are gradually working their way towards appointing a new manager – but it will not be Jack Pearce.
The general manager has been leading negotiations with players, leading to speculation among fans he could take over the team again in a role he held from 1976 to 2007.
But Pearce, in telling the Observer he hoped to make a recommendation to the committee about the new boss at the end of next week, said: “That job is not on my agenda.”
The club do plan to speak to former Brighton midfielder Shaun Wilkinson and one-time Rocks favourite David Wright among around half a dozen contenders for the manager’s job.
The moves come as Bognor make good progress in signing up existing players for another season at Nyewood Lane.
We reported that last week that striker Jimmy Muitt and midfielder Doug Tuck had signed for another campaign – and since then utility trio James Crane, Gary Charman and Harvey Whyte plus striker Ollie Pearce had agreed to join.
Pearce said yesterday he would be sitting down with central defender Sami El-Abd to talk over a new deal, and El-Abd had indicated a willingness to stay put. The same went for his fellow centre-half Chad Field.
The Rocks are keen to re-recruit goalkeeper Dan Lincoln and full-back Calvin Davies – the latter having had two loan spells at the Lane before his recent release by Pompey – but both seem to be keeping their options open, with hopes of playing at a higher level.
Another of last season’s loan stars, left wing-back Dylan Barnett, is set to head to Ireland, while young striker Jimmy Wild is in Australia and therefore unavailable for talks at present.
Pearce said skipper Dan Beck was keen to stay but was having further investigations during the summer into a hip injury that had restricted his appearances last season and had left him still in pain.
The Rocks have already signed their former youth-team defender, Corey Heath, from Worthing, while midfield duo James Fraser and Darren Budd have left for Worthing and Horsham respectively.
Pearce said the managerial vacancy was the next issue to be tackled.
“We’ve had half a dozen showing interest. I would hope to be in a position around the end of next week to make a recommendation to the committee,” he said.
Wilkinson and Wright are among the potential new bosses.
Wilkinson played for Brighton as high as Championship level, Chesterfield, Havant, Weymouth, Lewes and Eastleigh. He was assistant and caretaker boss at Eastleigh, No2 for a brief spell at Gosport and has also coached Havant.
Wright is another name that keeps cropping up. He has considerable experience working with academy-age players, both with Stoke City and the Premier League, and was a popular player in his days at Nyewood Lane.
Former Rocks Michael Birmingham and Miles Rutherford have both indicated they are happy in their current jobs, at Horndean and Chichester City respectively.
Pearce also revealed that coaching and management was an area Charman wanted to move into, and it had been discussed with the player.
Meanwhile, games at Worthing, Chichester City and Gosport have been added to Bognor’s pre-season programme, while July 26 has been confirmed as the date for Crawley Town’s visit to Nyewood Lane.
Bognor friendlies confirmed so far
Sat Jul 8 Worthing (a) 7.45pm
Fri Jul 14 Chichester City (a) 7.30pm
Wed Jul 19 Pompey (h) 7pm
Wed Jul 26 Crawley Town (h) 7.45pm
Fri Jul 28 Gosport Borough (a) 7.45pm
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