Bexhill United Football Club's new managerial duo has assembled a squad 'bursting with potential'.
That's the view of joint manager Ryan Light as the Pirates prepare for their first competitive game of the 2016/17 season tomorrow (Saturday).
"We wanted to bring in young, talented, hungry-to-succeed players that were committed to making their name at Bexhill, and growing and developing with us," said Light, one half of the managerial duo along with Nigel Kane.
"In that regard we're delighted with the squad we've managed to assemble. The squad we've got is bursting with potential. It's not going to happen instantly, we know it's going to take a little bit of time."
Bexhill's squad will look quite different from that of last season under previous boss Marc Munday - when the club finished fourth-from-bottom of Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One - and will have a youthful look about it.
"We came into the club at quite a low ebb football-wise, and we felt it needed a little bit of a clean sweep and fresh approach," continued Light.
"It will be a young squad. We've got some very talented young players mixed in with a few older heads; we didn't want the usual players who do the circuit. Ninety percent of the squad are on the up and that's what we looked at when we signed these players. They're all very ambitious."
Bexhill concluded their pre-season friendlies away to Eastbourne Town on Tuesday night when their line-up was far more like what it will be once the serious stuff gets under way.
"We've carried quite a large squad through pre-season, almost 25 players," Light went on. "We've given everyone a chance and we've had to look at quite a few combinations. The squad will be finalised this week and trimmed down to around 19 (players)."
The newcomers include goalkeeper Dan Rose, who is on a season-long loan from Hastings United having been part of the Sussex under-18 team which reached the final of the FA County Youth Cup last term.
Other new young players include Kyle Holden - a midfielder who has played first team football for Hastings and Little Common - Connor Robertson and Wayne Giles, while experienced midfielder Billy Trickett will captain the side.
Bexhill will kick-off the campaign with what Light expects will be a tough Peter Bentley Challenge Cup first round tie away to fellow Division One club Saltdean United tomorrow.
The teams have already met in a friendly early last month, which Saltdean won 2-0, but Bexhill will be fielding a very different line-up tomorrow.
"We would've liked to have avoided Saltdean on the first day, but we'll go there and give it our best," added Light. "We're still at a development stage, but (being a cup game) it does give us a little bit of breathing space to go there with a little less pressure on."
Bexhill will begin their league programme next Saturday (August 13) with a trip to Oakwood before heading to Ringmer three days later.
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