Carshalton Athletic have made a statement of intent by securing a vital player for next season’s assault on the Bostik Premier League, writes James Barrett-Sterling.
Striker Harry Ottaway arrived at Colston Avenue last Christmas with the club sitting lower mid-table and going through a bad patch of results.
But, by contributing eight goals and 12 assists after the New Year, he was a major catalyst in helping the club eventually finish second in the league.
And the decision to remain as a Robin seemingly wasn’t a tough one for Ottaway to make.
“I was made to feel very welcome here when I joined and I felt even more at home once I gave something back with my first goal against Haringey,” Ottaway said upon signing last week.
“This is a great club. I had two good chats with Paul Dipre and we got to know each other well, which is nice because normally a player would only speak to the manager.
“And I can’t wait to play for Peter again too, we are old friends and he’s doing a fantastic job here.”
Even though Ottaway firmly installed himself as a fans’ favourite during his short spell last season, the man himself feels he has more to give as Carshalton look to build on that positive second-place finish.
“I haven’t been fully fit for a long time but I felt good by the end of last season,” the 30-year old explained.
“I’m hoping a rest, then a good pre-season with consistent training will mean the fans will see more from me.
“If everyone else is like me then they’ll already feel excited to crack on. To come second after climbing nicely out of mid-table was good but this group now has experience of the division and I think we’ll be challenging up there next season.”
Ottaway is one of four children and he believes the values instilled in him by his parents has helped shaped the kind of footballer he is today.
“I’ve been taught to be a team player from an early age,” he smiled, “and as I got older I realised the benefits of that on a football pitch.
“I hope I can further repay the faith shown in me by Paul, Peter and the fans.”
Carshalton Athletic have further announced their pre-season friendly schedule beginning in July (kick-offs TBC). All games will be played at Colston Avenue:
Tooting & Mitcham Utd (Saturday 15th) Cray Valley (Monday 17th) Burgess Hill Town (Saturday 20th) Charlton Athletic (Monday 22nd) Dulwich Hamlet (Monday 29th) Brighton & Hove Albion (Tuesday 30th) Maldon & Tiptree (Saturday 3rd August).