Premier League and Championship interest in Lewes FC star

Lewes manager Tony Russell is dealing with fresh top-level interest in winger Ollie Tanner as he starts to plan his squad for next season.

The Rooks finished their 2021-22 campaign with a 2-2 home draw against Bowers & Pitsea, ending a rollercoaster season in which they narrowly missed out on a play-off spot.

Russell confirmed there was new interest in hot prospect Tanner – who decided against a move to Spurs mid-season – from a Premier League club and one in the Championship.

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Russell said of Tanner: “There is a lot of interest, I’m not going to lie.

Ollie Tanner on the ball for the Rooks / Picture: James Boyes

“I can’t really name the clubs but he’s gone into a Championship club this week.

“He’ll come back on Sunday for the presentation night and then he’ll go back up Monday and play a game for them on Tuesday behind closed doors.

“Then on May 13 he’ll go into a Premier League club. So that’s what’s happened.”

Russell is looking at the players at his disposal and what the Rooks will need to mount a promotion challenge next season.

He said: “We’ve broken the squad up into three sections: ones [players] where we’re keen for them to stay, the section of the maybes and up for discussion, and then a section of the boys that maybe we feel we’ve probably gone as far as we can with. We’re just going through that process at the moment.

“We’re talking to the boys who we definitely want to stay so we’re trying to get those deals done, which we’re well on our way with.

“We’ve got a few over the line but just need to sign their paperwork.

“We’re all coming in Sunday and having our presentation after, so a lot of the boys will sign their deals then.

“Once that’s done, we’ll turn our attention to potential targets because we’re going to need to recruit well.”

Despite them missing out on the play-offs – they eventually finished six points behind fifth-placed Cheshunt – Russell has praised the club’s progress this season while also thanking the fans for what he described as ‘unbelievable support’.

“I think we’ve come a long way in a short space of time,” he added.

“Last season we were averaging 0.8 points a game and now its 1.68 a game. Average attendances have gone from 320 up to nearly 900. We’ve done a lot of good, but we’ve still got a little way to go.

“There’s a lot to work on, it’ll be a busy summer but we’re moving in the right direction that’s for sure.

“My message to the supporters is thank you.

“Honestly, I can’t even stress it enough, they’ve been unbelievable.”

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