As we prepare for our third friendly at Hawkinge we felt this would be a good time to update our supporters. Firstly, it has been great to see supporters back at the Charles Ground for our first two friendlies and it has been nice to be getting back to some form of normality. It has been an exciting time with England’s progress in the Euros and hopefully those of you who have been along to one of our games have enjoyed watching some live football again.
We are delighted that we have been able to retain the vast majority of our squad from the last two seasons. The following players have already signed and committed for the 2021/22 season:
James Tonkin, Liam Hark, Alfie Foster, Kane Smith, Macca Murray, Billy Munday, Ben Chapman, Sam Wilson, Troy Howard, Ben Cardwell, Connor Coyne, Jack Paxman and Harry Alexander.
We will be adding to this number over the weekend with a number of further signings from the players who have featured so far in pre-season. Lee Scott will unfortunately be out for the season due to needing an operation on his shoulder but will still be around the group. Kane Smith with continue to captain the club with the support of Macca Murray, Alfie Foster and Liam Har. This gives us a really strong squad of players and with a further three weeks of pre-season still to go we expect to be adding further to ensure we have a competitive squad for the start of the season on July 31st.
Our first two friendlies against Hythe and New Romney have seen two good wins and two good clean sheets. The boys are looking fit and we have played some good football across the two games. Although pre-season results mean little it is certainly better to be winning these games rather than losing them. It has also given us the opportunity to look at a number of players who we have not yet signed with a number of these impressing.
We have another 5 friendlies and they will pose different tests but we are looking forward to them all. The standout game is against Dover Athletic on Tuesday 20th July and it would be great to have a big crowd at the Charles Ground for that one so please spread the word.
Those of you who have been to the ground would have noticed that the pitch is looking in magnificent condition. Full credit is due to Andy Chapman and all those who work on the pitch and the ground to get it in such great condition for the start of the season. The players really appreciate it and it certainly helps us play the fast attacking football that we aim for.
The backroom staff has also been strengthened during the summer with the arrival of Rob Edwards, who will add both Sport Science and Coaching support and joins the backroom team along with Kieron Hollier, Dean Hill, Brenton Duke, Dave Briggs and Dave Dadd. This ensures that the players are fully supported during the season and gives us the best chance of putting in high levels of performance on a regular basis.
The start of the season is always an exciting time and we await news of the FA Cup Draw later today. The club is in a great position, despite the effects of the pandemic, and will look to continue to go from strength to strength. We are lucky to have an excellent Board of Directors, loyal and talented playing squad and excellent supporters at the club and we will be doing our best to bring both entertainment and success in the year ahead.
Your support is always fully appreciated and we look forward to seeing you all at the Charles Ground regularly during the season. Please spread the ‘Deal Town’ word and let’s see if we can get even more people through the gate this season.
Come on you Hoops!