Worthing add sparkle and quality to strong-looking squad - boss delighted

Worthing boss Adam Hinshelwood says he is delighted to add 'sparkle' and 'quality' to his squad this week as the countdown to the Isthmian premier season gather pace.

Dean Cox on his Worthing debut / Picture: Marcus Hoare
Dean Cox on his Worthing debut / Picture: Marcus Hoare

One of Hinshelwood’s former Brighton team-mates, Dean Cox, is one of two more new signings in the squad as Hinshelwood gets his troops ready for an Isthmian Premier campaign they will start as many people’s favourites for the title.

Left-sided defender Pat Webber, who was at Worthing as a youth player and has since had time at Ipswich and Wigan, has also signed.

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They join goalkeeper Harrison Male and central defender Will Seager as new signings, while most of last season’s squad have committed to another campaign.

Aarran Racine heads home against Three Bridges / Picture: Marcus Hoare

But Marvin Armstrong has been training with Eastbourne Borough with a view to signing for the National South club and Dayshonne Golding has had an offer from National League top-flight outfit Dover.

Even a setback that’s set to see Kane Wills’ season-long loan scrapped by Dorking Wanderers has left the manager unfazed ahead of a big season at Woodside Road.

Worthing began their programme of friendlies with a tough test against Brighton’s under-23s last Friday which the Seagulls won 1-0.

On Saturday two goals by Shaq Gwengue and one from Frankie Perry earned a 3-0 win at Selsey in the Dave Kew Memorial Trophy, which sets up a final against Chichester City at Pagham this Saturday.

Fans are back at Woodside Road / Picture: Marcus Hoare

Worthing made their long-awaited return to Woodside Road on Tuesday for their third friendly, at home to Three Bridges – and 457 fans were there as the Mackerel Men played in front of home supporters for the first time since March 2020.

An enthusiastic crowd saw them win 6-1 with all four new signings playing. Goals from Aarran Racine, Jasper Pattenden (2), Ollie Pearce (2) and Jesse Starkey saw off the Isthmian south east visitors.

After facing Chichester City on Saturday, Worthing travel to Baffins Milton Rovers on Tuesday and Littlehampton on Wednesday as their hectic build-up to the season continues.

Hinshelwood is delighted with progress so far. “We’ve now been training for two weeks and have had three friendlies, and the lads are looking in good shape,” he told the Herald.

“It was good to start with two contrasting games. Brighton was one where we didn’t have much of the ball and had to work hard to contain the opposition and see if we could counter-attack.

“Then at Selsey we were the superior team so it was different sort of test and with a young team we looked comfortable. We’ve managed to get minutes into the legs of a lot of different players, including pretty much all the first-team squad and a good number of our under-18s.

“It shows the progress we’ve made as a club that we can go to a place like Selsey with a lot of under-18s. But those under-18s know they will have to work very hard to get into the first team.

“And on Tuesday it was just brilliant to be back home with the fans.”

Hinshelwood said it was disappointing Wills’ loan looked like it had fallen through, with Dorking apparently believing they could not risk being without him after all.

He said there was no blame attached to Wills and added: “These things happen in football.”

The boss is delighted to link up again with Cox, who he was with at Brighton 15 or so years ago.

“He’ll need a little time to get up to full fitness having just had an appendix operation but he’s a great person to have here, on and off the pitch. He’ll add quality and sparkle to what we do in the final third.”

Webber is a ‘big, strong’ defender who Hinshelwood is also delighted to capture.

The boss said he’d be sorry to see Armstrong and Golding go but added: “Our aim is to be a club where good players stay to progress to higher levels and we’re well on our way to that. I don’t think we’ll have too many more coming or going before the league season starts and I think we’ll have a really strong squad.”