Players’ first-class pre-season attitude delights Haywards Heath Town boss

Haywards Heath Town do battle with Eastbourne Borough | Picture: Lydia RedmanHaywards Heath Town do battle with Eastbourne Borough | Picture: Lydia Redman
Haywards Heath Town do battle with Eastbourne Borough | Picture: Lydia Redman
Haywards Heath Town boss Naim Rouane has praised the ‘first-class’ attitude his players have shown since returning to training.

Heath are gearing up for another tilt at glory in the Southern Combination premier and began their schedule of friendlies with a creditable display in a 2-0 loss at home to Eastbourne Borough.

Rouane said: “I need to thank the chairman, Steve Isherwood, and committee members for getting us a fantastic grass pitch ready in such a short time and for providing all the kit to an enable us to put on great training sessions.

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“It’s always a tricky period as there’s incomings, outgoings and players are on holidays at sporadic times which makes it hard to get the group to the same levels of fitness and understanding our template and way of playing.

“We started on June 22 and the application, attitude and observation from the boys has been first class – it looks to me as if it’s shaping up to be a good season."

Rouane said recruitment had been difficult as the pool of players at Heath’s level seemed to be getting smaller.

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“Retaining players of quality at step five is now a serious achievement, I’m sure if they didn’t believe in what we do and the plans we have in place, it would have been extremely difficult to have kept all of them.

"We’ve added two exceptional players from Lancing, Jack Meeres and Alex Plummer, who have seamlessly integrated. I’ve already seen their class in our first friendly.

"We’ve another four or five players training with us, of which I’m sure at least two or three will sign.

"We’ve lost a really good player and person in Liam Hendy to Hassocks – we thank him and wish him all the best.

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"Elliott Bresciani has decided to join Burgess Hill and Ben Connolly has called time on playing – he could no longer commit with other priorities in his personal life. I’d like to also thank them both.”

Heath gave Eastbourne Borough a good game on Saturday and Heath tested themselves again on Tuesday night when they hosted Isthmian premier side Horsham, who won 5-1.

Rouane said: “The Eastbourne game was exactly what I wanted, an opponent that could take the ball and be press resistant, be physically and athletically superior and test us to our maximum.

"Playing sides that are full time and three divisions up will only enhance our game, we had to think quicker, react and adapt to situations sharper, be more technically astute and adapt tactically to in-game situations with the problems they posed.

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With five debuts and new relationships all over the pitch I was incredibly pleased with the performance, we never wavered from our style of play and continued to stick to our principles.

“We’ve purposefully opted for a difficult pre-season schedule with opponents that are playing in higher divisions.

"As a staff, playing squad and club we are always trying to compete and be the best we can possibly be and give ourselves the best chance of achieving our goals in a style that’s not often associated with these levels.”

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