Mussels continue to build squad ahead of new season

Back: Rob OToole, Joe Keehan, Andy Pearson, Jack Rowe-Hurst. Front: Ralph Prodger (joint owner), Stuart Slaney (joint owner), Bryan OToole (manager)

Back: Rob OToole, Joe Keehan, Andy Pearson, Jack Rowe-Hurst. Front: Ralph Prodger (joint owner), Stuart Slaney (joint owner), Bryan OToole (manager)

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Shoreham Football Club boss Bryan O’Toole is continuing to build his squad ahead of the upcoming Southern Combination League Premier Division season.

After Rob O’Toole, Andy Pearson and Joe Keehan joined last month, along with Kevin Keehan as player/assistant manager, Bryan O’Toole has now added George Gaskin, Scott Packer, Jack Rowe-Hurst, Mitchell Hand and Ryan Storrie.

Mitchell Hand and Bryan O'Toole

Mitchell Hand and Bryan O'Toole

Gaskin heads to Middle Road from Littlehampton, where he was player-manager last season and scored 22 goals. Hand and Packer also join from Golds, while Rowe-Hurst and Storrie have signed from Horsham, who won the SCFL title last season.

With the signings comes expectation but Bryan O’Toole insists his aim will always be one game at a time and said: “It’s all coming together nicely and we’re spending next to no money. I know people are saying we’re spending loads with the players we’ve got here but we’re not. Players want to play in good teams and I’ve said all along that signings breed signings.

“Players want to play with good players and when we announced who we’d signed last month, I started to get phone calls from a number of players – some who weren’t interested in playing for me here a couple of years ago.

“But people want to come here now, which is nice.”

Back: George Gaskin, Scott Packer. Front: Kevin Keehan (assistant manager).

Back: George Gaskin, Scott Packer. Front: Kevin Keehan (assistant manager).

On whether there will be more pressure on Mussels next season with their summer signings so far, O’Toole said: “There would be a lot more pressure if we were spending lots of money but I’m not feeling the pressure.

“I’m just going to go out and enjoy it. I’m not going to say anything about winning things, we’ll just go out and take it one game at a time all season and that’s what I’ll always say.”

On his latest signings, O’Toole said: “George has scored 20-plus goals for four seasons or so in a row now. He’s someone I want in my team as no one likes playing against him.

“The year he had managing at Littlehampton will have benefited him as well as he’s seen things from a different viewpoint and he’s so excited about the upcoming season.

“Scott is a player I really like and you always need someone like him in a team.

“You’ll have games as a team where you’re not at your best and need to work hard and win ugly and that’s what he’ll bring with his work- rate.

“When I was talking to Kev about left-backs, he asked me who I thought was the best left-back in the league and I said Mitchell Hand.

“He agreed, so I phoned Mitchell and he said he has a bar in Shoreham and is good friends with George and Scott, so it works out really well.

“Jack was at Horsham last year and has great attributes and just wants to play football and he gives us great options, while Ryan can play a number of positions and won the title with Horsham last year and again gives us great options.

“As I’ve said to all the players, if they give me 100 per cent, I’ll give them one million per cent back.

“I always meet players at the club and have been getting up at 4.40am on a lot of mornings to go to the club and paint and do other things before I start work.

“I’m really looking forward to the start of the season and hopefully we’ll have a good one.”

Shoreham return to pre-season training on June 28 and are set to have a couple of training sessions, before they meet Southwick in their first friendly on July 2.

Shoreham then entertain AFC Varndeanians (July 5) and Catholic United (July 9), before a trip to East Preston (July 15).

Home games then take place against East Grinstead (July 19), Ashford Town (July 23) and Dorking Wanderers (July 26).

Mussels’ season is set to get under way with an FA Cup game on August 6.

Shoreham have named Stuart Deaves as their new under-18 manager ahead of the new season, with an under-21 boss to be confirmed.

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