We have been enjoying a fruitful pre-season as the club looks forward to tackling the Bostik Premier from August, writes James Barrett-Sterling.
Since winning the Bostik South last season with an impressive 102 points, we have won four of our first six pre-season friendlies while working behind the scenes on honing the playing squad.
And, after a 4-2 victory over Tooting and Mitcham United on Saturday, player/manager Peter Adeniyi revealed that side of his job is now virtually completed.
“Pre-season has been very good, the results have been pleasing but the work ethos and performances of the players even more so,” he said.
“Everyone has raised their work rate as we head into a higher league. I’ve been very well supported by the chairman and we’ve almost got a full squad locked down with the new boys starting to gel.”
Only two of our championship-winning squad – Christie Pattisson and Brendan Murphy-McVey – have moved on to pastures new, but new faces like Jerson Dos Santos, Mike Dixon and James Richmond have arrived at Colston Avenue.
“We try and create an atmosphere here whereby players don’t want to leave, but both Christie and Brendan have left for good reasons and on good terms,” added Adeniyi.
“We’ll need options throughout what will be no doubt a tough season. Some players will want to play 60 games of course, but it’s part of my job to manage them in the right way while ensuring we have quality coverage all over the pitch.”
And the 38-year old himself will remain a part of the playing staff as he enters his third season as manager.
“At the end of every season I think this might be it, but I still feel strong once I start my running and gym work,” smiled Adeniyi when asked if he’s ready to hang up his boots.
“I’ll work hard to maintain my fitness, but then all the boys need to do that. We’re now in a higher league so we’ll take each game as it comes and hopefully learn quickly. We are an ambitious club and simply want to build upon last season’s success.”
And, in breaking news, the club has just announced that both defender Jordan Cheadle and academy midfielder Levi Phillips have committed their immediate futures to that cause.
Cheadle, who chipped in with seven goals and nine assists last season, and who completed a successful trial with Dagenham and Redbridge last month before failing to agree terms, has signed a 12-month deal.
And 20-year old Phillips, yet another exciting prospect to come through our youth set-up, has agreed a two-year contract after impressing during a handful of appearances last season.
Our final friendly of the summer is at home against Sittingbourne on Saturday 4th August (kick-off 3pm).