Chichester City boss says promotion heroes will get chance at higher level

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Miles Rutherford has promised his Chichester City promotion heroes they’ll all have a chance to shine in the Isthmian premier division.

He is confident most or all of the Oaklands Park squad who got City promoted through the Isthmian south east division play-offs will stay to test themselves at step three of the non-league pyramid.

And the club have no plans to make major changes to the squad as they tackle the highest level of football they’ve known.

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Rutherford knows it will be a tough task for City in a division full of bigger clubs but says they are ready to meet the challenge head-on.

Chi City after they won the play-offs to clinch promotion | Picture: Neil HolmesChi City after they won the play-offs to clinch promotion | Picture: Neil Holmes
Chi City after they won the play-offs to clinch promotion | Picture: Neil Holmes

"We are quite happy with where we are and what we have,” Rutherford told us.

"Most players have said they will stay with us for next season.

"My view is that they’ve earned the right to play in the higher division for us because of what they achieved last season, which was unbelievable.

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"There may be one or two signings but we won’t be going into the season with a lot of new players.

"We’ll see how we get on in the first five or six weeks then plan from there.”

Rutherford said City were under no illusions about the size of the challenge in front of them as they try to live with sides like Dartford and Dover – both newly relegated from National League South – and Sussex rivals Bognor and Horsham.

But he said they’d already shown last season they could defy the odds.

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"We’re excited about it. Some will say we are bound to fail but we will be setting out to survive,” Rutherford added.

"The players seem to be up for the challenge – none that we’ve spoken to have indicated they are going anywhere else.”

The City squad will return to pre-season training at the end of this month under the expert guidance of coaches Danny Potter and Darin Killpartrick, who have already been working up a training plan.

The club have lined up seven friendlies – six of which will be at home. They will host Pagham on Friday, July 5; Christchurch on Tuesday 9; Worthing on Saturday 13; AFC Portchester on Tuesday 16; Moneyfields on Saturday 20 and Winchester on Saturday, August 3, and visit Broadbridge Heath on Saturday, July 27.

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