Wheeler, Racine and now Pearce: Worthing FC boss delighted as squad takes shape

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Worthing boss Adam Hinshelwood is delighted with how quickly the squad is taking shape for 2023-24 – after two key players committed to the club and a former Charlton winger joined.

​Experienced wide man Nicky Wheeler arrives at Woodside Road after leaving Dorking Wanderers – while centre half and captain Aarran Racine and last season’s top scorer Ollie Pearce have signed for another year.

It follows last week’s news that Spanish attacking midfielder Joan Luque had joined but that keeper Harrison Male had joined Dorking.

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Hinshelwood said: “I’m delighted with the business we’ve done so far.

Nicky Wheeler checks out his new surroundings at Woodside Road | Picture: Worthing FCNicky Wheeler checks out his new surroundings at Woodside Road | Picture: Worthing FC
Nicky Wheeler checks out his new surroundings at Woodside Road | Picture: Worthing FC

"We’re bringing in quality and experience and having senior players like Aarran and Ollie happy to commit again is massive for us too.”

Wheeler played 21 times for Dorking in the National League premier last season.

The 32-year-old started his career at Charlton, spending seven years in the club’s academy before a break from football.

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Spells with Burgess Hill Town, Lewes, Tonbridge Angels, Dagenham & Redbridge, Billericay Town, Woking, Eastbourne Borough followed.

Wheeler told the Worthing FC website: “I’m excited to be here, it’s a club with real ambition – that a was a big draw for me.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with Hinsh and we’ve kept in contact – it’s always nice when you play in team that likes to play good football and you get a lot of touches; the style of football his team’s play was another big reason for coming here”.

Meanwhile, Racine has agreed terms for the 23-24 season.

The 31-year-old joined the club in 2017 and while recovering from the serious knee injury that forced him to quit professional football, Racine formed part of Hinshelwood’s management team.

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Since 2018 Racine has become a pivotal part of the defence and as captain has led the team to the Isthmian Premier title and their recent Sussex Senior Cup triumph. The defender has made 127 appearances for the Rebels.

Pearce’s new deal will also delight the Reds faithful. He has scored 30 goals in each of the past two seasons and may form a potent partnership with Jake Robinson next season.

Former Brighton striker Robinson suffered an ACL injury in his league debut last August and Hinshelwood said welcoming him back into the fold was huge.