Isthmian League life won't get any easier for Chichester City

Chichester City FC are expecting the new Isthmian south east division season to be as tough as ever.

City were promoted to the Isthmian in 2019 but after two Covid-halted campaigns, last season was their first completed one at step four of the non-league pyramid.

Their mid-table finish was creditable although they had flirted with the play-off places at one stage.

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In 2022-23 they are again out to make a strong impression but coach Darin Killpartrick is warning that the strength of the division does not showing any sign of reducing, despite Hastings and Herne Bay being promoted.

Josh Clack on the attack for Chi City against Ramsgate last season / Picture: Neil Holmes

Littlehampton, Sheppey, Beckenham and Chatham have all been promoted into the south east division and Killpartrick said all were capable of doing well.

But City will go into the new term confident, having convinced around 80 per cent of last season’s squad to stay at Oaklands Park for a new tilt at success.

Defender Corey Heath, who has joined Wessex League Moneyfields, is the most notable loss from the 2021-22 ranks. City will start pre-season training next Tuesday and play their first friendly on Saturday, July 9, when they’re part of a four-team tournament hosted by Pagham FC.

Killpartrick told us: “We’re in good shape and looking forward to the new season having had a proper break since 21-22 ended.

"We’ve signed three players we’re extremely happy with and have a couple of youngsters coming in for pre-season.

"Behind the scenes we’ve been working since the final game of last season to make sure we’re ready for what will be another tough season.

"We’ve retained 80 per cent of the squad which we are over the moon about and I must mention the work of the groundsman and his staff too – the pitch is looking in superb condition, which is vital to the way we want to play.

"We’ll take it game by game and see where it takes us. We more than held our own last season but the league doesn’t get any easier.

"Some very good sides are no longer in the division but all the teams coming up into it look strong so we will have to be 100 per cent ready by the time the first game comes around.”

The league begins on August 13.