FOOTBALL: New-look Rebels are ready to go

WORTHING Football Club boss Chris White is raring to go for the Ryman League Division 1 South season which kicks off again on Saturday.

White took over as Rebels boss in June, after Simon Colbran quit the club at the end of last season, and has since taken charge of 11 pre-season games to get his squad ready.

Colbran resigned after Worthing lost in the play-off semi-finals for the third successive year '“ the first two under joint bosses Alan Pook and Danny Bloor.

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Now, this campaign, is a new-look Worthing team. Only two players remain from last season's squad, Jamie Groves and Ryan Woodford, but Groves is going to miss much of the season as he is going to work abroad and Woodford, who was due to sign-on again with Rebels this week, is suspended for the first three matches, after a red card in their pre-season game with Shoreham.

White has assembled a squad of 24 players, with winger Callum Saunders and striker Dan White, Chris' son, also now signed on.

Midfielder Matt Axell has also dual-signed with Rebels and County League side Arundel, whom Worthing will host in the FA Cup preliminary round on August 28, after Mullets' 4-1 win over Hailsham on Saturday.

Young Worthing defender Charlie Cooke has dual-signed with Hassocks, while Clay Lamont was also set to sign for Rebels this week.

Worthing start with a home game on Saturday (3pm) against Leatherhead, who lost in the play-off semi-finals last year, and then visit Neil Shipperley's Walton Casuals side on Monday (7.45pm).

White said: "My target will be the same as it is every year '“ to finish as high as we can.

"We've got a decent squad and I don't think there's a stand-out team like there was last year, with Folkestone and Croydon Athletic.

"It's going to be a pretty open league. Outside the top two last year, there was only a cigarette paper between the top and bottom, so we've got every chance.

"It's always good to start well but we've got a tough opening game against Leatherhead but we'll be going in to it with confidence.

"We're looking forward to it now. It's been a really long pre-season. I started on June 2, we didn't come back to pre-season training until July 8, and we've played 11 pre-season games, so it seems to have gone on for ages and we're just itching to get going."

Rebels finished their pre-season programme on Tuesday evening with a 1-0 win against County League Division 2 side Southwick.

John Lansdale had a penalty saved in the first half before trialist Kai Birchard, who has been at Fulham, Charlton and Aldershot and spent pre-season with Tooting, got the only goal in the second period.

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