Worthing expecting plenty of competition as new Isthmian title bid starts

Worthing begin a new Isthmian premier promotion bid on Saturday with boss Adam Hinshelwood warning: The league will be as competitive as ever.

Adam Hinshelwood is pleased the long break between seasons is over
Adam Hinshelwood is pleased the long break between seasons is over

After a long break between seasons and an unusal pre-season period for all clubs, it’s hard to predict who will be strong in the division.

But Hinshelwood expects a clutch of clubs to start out feeling they have a chance of the title or a play-off spot.

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The Rebels’ task in trying to repeat last season’s success – which saw them top the table when football was halted in March – has been made tougher by problems with their artificial pitch which will mean them playing at least their first four or five games away from home.

But Hinshelwood says his squad is in good shape and spirits and determined to do well, wherever they are playing.

They begin the league campaign at Folkestone on Saturday – the same fixture with which they started 2019-20 with a defeat – then go to East Grinstead of the Isthmian south east division in the FA Cup on Tuesday.

Hinshelwood said: “It’s nice that we have finally arrived at the first competitive game – it’s been a long wait.

“We’ve had a good pre-season in which a lot of players have staked their claim for a place in the team and many of our young players have shown what they can do.

“I pretty much know what the starting line-up will be on Saturday but we have some people who have been out with minor things who may or may not be okay for Saturday. It may be too soon for a couple.

“The first couple of games will be tough. Folkestone are always strong, though we have a very different team now to the on that lost there in the first game last year. And East Grinstead will be tricky opponents.

“But we’re looking forward to the challenges of the season.”

Brighton have confirmed they are happy for Worthing to take highly-rated young keeper Roco Rees on loan.

Hinshelwood said he was delighted to land Rees and said there could yet be one or two more trialists signing.

If work on the pitch drags on, Worthing may need to find somewhere to play a couple of home games, but for now, they are happy to play away games only and catch up with home fixtures later in the season.

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