So, David, Congratulations on the new role! There appears to have been a flurry of activity on social media regarding new players. How’s the squad for next season shaping up?
Thank you, yes that’s right, it has been a really busy start indeed. Ironically it was never my intention to instigate a complete rebuild of the squad when I first joined Lancing. However, as the days went by it became clear to us that we were likely to lose a large number of last season’s playing squad and that getting reinforcements in was going to be necessary. As such we took it upon ourselves to be proactive in the market and seek replacements that fitted the profile of player we wanted to bring to the club.
What has happened to the players that represented Lancing last season?
A whole variety of different things really. We obviously lost 4 players to Burgess Hill that followed Dean Cox [Lancing’s previous manager] to Leyland’s park. Then we had 6 or 7 return to their parent clubs such as Worthing and Eastbourne Borough after their loan spells expired. Some have decided to step away from the game completely due to retirement or family and work commitments, some were offered more money elsewhere, some have gone to University, and others simply just wanted a change. We haven’t released a single player! There’s no hard feelings against anyone at all. I understand that this is football and the game moves on quickly. We wish all of the players that have departed the best of luck going forward of course.
Are any players remaining from last season’s squad?
We certainly hope so. Discussions are ongoing with some players but we can expect to see the likes of Tyrone Madhani, Mo Zabane, Mo Juwara, Alieu Secka, Will Berry and many more familiar faces reporting for preseason duty on the 27th June.
Were you disappointed to lose so many players so quickly when you came in?
No not at all. I think there’s a couple of players in there that would have enjoyed working with us but at the end of the day it’s nothing personal, they had already agreed to move on before we’d even accepted the job. But as I say that’s football, there’s no resentment whatsoever. And in many ways it’s provided us with a great opportunity because it gave us a blank canvas to go and shape the squad as we see it. Plus I don’t have to worry about losing players in the middle of the season now to clubs with bigger budgets as most of the players that have come in have already turned down much bigger offers elsewhere because they want to be a part of what we’re doing here. This means we should have greater continuity and consistency going forward and I know that all the players are here for the right reasons and are fully motivated to push the club forwards
And tell us a bit more about the players that you have brought in, are you happy with the recruitment so far?
Yes, absolutely. All of the players we have brought in are fit, hungry and athletic; most of them are in their early 20’s which is a great age for football and all of them are Sussex based which we feel will help create a strong dressing room dynamic in the group. They have a lot of isthmian football experience between them too which is important, as well as a determination to prove themselves at this level. All in all we feel that this is a great combination to produce a really exciting football team this season which will resonate well with the supporters.
And finally what are your aims this season?
We are not going to set any targets at this stage but there’s definitely a quiet confidence in the squad that we can improve on last season’s league position and hopefully surprise a few people. We are all really looking forward to it and excited to get going!