I'm also delighted that Keith Slocombe will be joining the club as physio for the U21's. Having worked with Keith for the last two seasons at Tonbridge Angels I have seen his work first hand and I know he will be a valuable asset to the club and the players.
We held three trials in May, which saw over 50 players in attendance and the standard was extremely high. We have picked a squad of 25, the majority of which are not older than 18 years old, so some are still eligible to play for Gary Robinson's U18's in the Kent Youth League on Sunday's.
I'm very happy with the balance of the squad & the fans should be excited about the potential that the players have. It is important for everyone to know that having a big squad is vital at this level. Some players still play Academy football on a Wednesday, so their time needs managing, while we have several links with first teams in the South East Counties Leagues where some of our players will duel-register - we feel it's vital that the best players in our squad can get as much first team experience as possible.
All of our players have received an off-season fitness programme to make sure they return in good shape for our first pre-season training session on Saturday 24th June.
Having held many discussions with Steve Watt over the off-season, you should see some of our U21's involved in the early first team pre-season friendlies, so I hope they grab that opportunity with both hands.
The support the club have shown me in this short time has been tremendous. We are delighted about the news of 3G at Hartsdown Park and players already can't wait to get out there. Steve has shown the trust in me to implement my own ideas with the U21's and I plan on rewarding this support & trust by doing everything possible to produce players for the first team for years to come.
For any supporters interested in watching us play pre-season, here is our fixture list.
1st Rusthall (A) 1.30pm
15th Kent Football United (A) 3.00pm
19th Old Bromleians (A) 7.45pm
22nd Bridon Ropes (A) 3.00pm
26th Holland & Blair (A) 7.45pm
9th Billericay Town U21 @ Wrotham School 3G 7.45pm
We already can't wait to get started!