Loxwood trim squad and put their faith in forwards

Loxwood manager Mark Beard is putting his faith in his current forwards at the club to step up this season.

DM152782a.jpg Football - Arundel v Loxwood. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150808-211516008
DM152782a.jpg Football - Arundel v Loxwood. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150808-211516008

It has been a case of trimming the squad over the summer rather than adding to it at Plaistow Road.

With the under-21 academy finishing last season, the Magpies will now have all those young players featuring in the first team every week rather than being rotated.

That has left Beard with a bigger squad despite the departures of Joe Holvey and Ollie Moore, who have left for and returned to Broadbridge Heath.

Former Millwall midfielder Beard is still on the look out for a striker, but also has Mark Cave, Michael Wood and Cecil Jee at his disposal.

Combine that with the goals from fit-again Ollie Gill and having retained the services of Byron Napper, Beard is pleased with how his squad is looking.

He said: “If anything it’s been having to trim down the squad really. We had both the academy and first team last year and obviously a few of the academy boys were playing in the first team and we were rotating that.

“This year with no academy side all of those boys will be playing in the first team every week.

“I am looking for a forward, but Mark Cave has put his hat in the ring saying he wants to play there and Michael Wood has been excellent so we will give them a chance.

“We have lost Ollie Moore and Joe Holvey, but I am not too worried. Ollie Gill is back fit and training every week, he’s a better player than Ollie Moore, he’s young and will score the goals that Ollie did last year for us, so he won’t be that missed.

“With Joe, it’s disappointing him leaving, but he was honest enough to say that he wants to go and play football with his mates.

“I am one of those guys that if someone doesn’t want to play for me, then be honest with me. I want players that want to be here and that I know want to play every week. All these rumours that start up over the summer of going here and there, I’m not interested in that.

“If people come back to me a week before the season starts and say, now they are interested, I will say no as we have been putting all our hard work in during pre-season.

“A couple of teams in higher divisions have come in for players and that’s fair enough.

“A couple have turned them down. Byron Napper has signed, he turned down Horsham. He wants to enjoy his football and think he will learn more here with us.

“I want to see players go and play as high as they can, but I think a lot of them are better than Ryman League anyway, so why not stay and learn here before you do it rather than just leaving to step up one division.”

Loxwood still have pre-season fixtures to come against Billingshurst, Horsham and Eastbourne Borough after losing to Greenwich Borough and beating Oakwood in matches so far.

Beard added: “It was a tough one against Greenwich Borough, they will be up there as they are a really good side. One of my good pals, Gary Alexander is there and we lost 4-1 but we matched up against players that have played in the Premier League.

“We then beat Oakwood 6-1 which was a really pleasing performance. Mark Cave scored four goals, which proves again he can score and him and Michael Wood work well together.”

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