Burgess Hill Town's hard work has Lovett excited for 2022-23

Burgess Hill Town boss Jay Lovett says his hard-working players have made him excited for the start of the Isthmian League season.

The Hillians beat a young Brighton & Hove Albion side 1-0 in their latest friendly and have one more warm-up game – at Leatherhead on Saturday – before their league fixtures begin a week later.

Lovett is happy with how his squad has come together, and how they have looked in training and friendlies.

He told us: “Pre season performances have got better each game as new players have settled in and the existing players have learnt about the new ones’ game.

Burgess Hill Town find the net in their pre-season friendly v Brighton U23s / Picture: Chris Neal

"The team shape gets better each game and everyone is getting fitter. We still have a little way to go until we are in full swing, but as with everything, it's a work in progress.”

Lovett said they’d avoided having too many trialists coming in and out in pre-season, so the build-up had focused on pushing last season’s squad – the majority of whom had stayed – but adding competition ftom a small number of new faces.

He said: "Charlie Pitcher has come in with us since the start of training and has looked hungrier to play than I've seen him and has made a great impact, along with Jeff Duah Kessie.

"Kieran Rowe looks like he’s been with us for years and putting in some great performances full of energy and we still have Ollie Allen from Dorking to play when he’s finished rehab.

"We still have a couple of players we need. We have nine days until the league starts and playing Ashford, one of the favourites, will be a tough start, but we will quietly go about our business and prepare as best we can for that challenge.

" I feel maintaining the squad I had from last year will see us in a better starting position than we’ve had in previous years.

“I see the league as being really tough with new additions to the division building healthy squads. You've got last year's play-off teams that will be up there again – and teams who last year you thought would be up there but didn't fulfil their potential.

"I don’t see any game and bank on three points. But the boys have worked very hard in pre-season and gelled together brilliantly and have made us as a management team and club, excited for the season.”