Freeman plans for future after relegation agony

Darren Freeman (right) with assistant Tony Coade

Darren Freeman (right) with assistant Tony Coade

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Lewes manager Darren Freeman said he fully expects to remain as the manager at the Dripping Pan next season following their relegation from the Ryman Premier last Saturday.

A 2-2 draw at highflying Kingstonian sealed their fate as Lewes, who are second from bottom, were relegated along with basement side VCD Athletic.

Freeman took charge halfway through the season following the departure of previous manager Steve Brown. Performances improved on the pitch and Lewes have lost just three in their last 17 matches. But ultimately too many draws proved costly and Freeman suffered his first ever relegation as a manager.

“It’s a massive disappointment for all concerned and I feel for the supporters and the players who have given everything.

“Our form has been good of late and that shows we can compete at this level but we just couldn’t do enough.

“But I do feel we can comeback stronger. This is not a club on the slide. We have a solid foundation and we are set-up to be a Conference South club. That is the aim of everyone here and we all have to pull in the right direction to achieve that. I genuinely feel there are exciting times ahead for this club. We are working to keep this team together and if we can do that I feel we have a great chance to have good season next time around.”

Players James Hammond, Alex Laing and Ronnie Conlon have confirmed for next season and Freeman hopes to persuade striker Jonte Smith to remain for a season in the South.

“Jonte is a top player and you can tell he has enjoyed his football with us. We will sit down with Jonte when the time is right.”

Lewes welcome Staines to the Dripping Pan tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm)