Bognor fans told: Expect signings very soon

Work continues on the Rocks' new grandstand / Picture: Tommy McMillanWork continues on the Rocks' new grandstand / Picture: Tommy McMillan
Work continues on the Rocks' new grandstand / Picture: Tommy McMillan
The foundations are being laid for the Rocks’ new season – on and off the pitch.

As the team working on major ground improvements continue to make good progress, the focus will turn in the coming week to building up the squad.

Manager Jack Pearce has started the process of talking to last season’s squad members to see which ones are happy to commit to another season at Nyewood Lane.

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He hopes to make a number of signings in the next seven days.

That comes after news that bosses of the Isthmian League are aiming to start their season on Saturday, September 19, following new government guidance last weekend that outlined how football can gradually return to something like normal.

Pearce warned that date was still not set in stone, but said it was time to get the Bognor squad into shape.

They will now start pre-season training on Friday, August 7 or Monday, August 10 – slightly later than the August 3 start they had initially planned.

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A number of friendlies are likely to be arranged though none has been confirmed yet.

Pearce has been involved in FA efforts to lobby the government to allow the return of grass-roots football in a safe environment.

He says progress has been made but there are still hurdles to clear.

“No-one knows for sure yet what is going to happen,” he said.

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“The likelihood is that in September we’ll be able to play competitive football with reduced crowd, but there’s no formula for that yet.

“It could still be October.

“A lot of people have been working very hard to see what is allowed but until things are set in stone it is very difficult to plan.

“Even when football is allowed, clubs will need a lot of volunteers to make sure all the procedures are followed.”

Bognor fans will be keen to find out who they’ll be watching when they can return and at present the only confirmed 2020-21 squad members are goalkeeper Amadou Tangara, midfielder Tommy Leigh, utility man Ashton Leigh and forward Brad Lethbridge.

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The Rocks have lost striker Dan Smith to National premier side Eastleigh and left-back Kristian Campbell to National South outfit Tonbridge Angels.

Pearce said he hoped many of last season’s squad would stay.

There has been talk of midfielder Doug Tuck moving on but Pearce said he did not know if that would happen.

The boss said: “I’ve started talking to players and I’d expect that we’ll be signing a few over the next few days or so.

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“We’re sorry to lose Dan and Kristian but both have gone to higher levels of football.

“Kristian has bases in Hastings and London so his move to Tonbridge makes sense for him.”

The Rocks, who were eighth in the table when the season was suspended, know the Isthmian premier will be very competitive again this season.

Worthing will again be going for the title and Margate, Carshalton and Kingstonian are among clubs tipped to be strong.

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