Rebels’ business done early with squad almost complete

Gary Elphick, Sam Rents and Jon Meeney
Gary Elphick, Sam Rents and Jon Meeney

Worthing Football Club’s squad for the upcoming season is almost finalised – with eight weeks still to go until the new campaign begins.

Rebels signed former Brighton and Crawley left-back Sam Rents on Sunday, having already brought in Kane Wills and Reis Stanislaus to boost the squad which secured promotion last season.

Sam Rents (middle) with Worthing joint managers Jon Meeney and Gary Elphick

Sam Rents (middle) with Worthing joint managers Jon Meeney and Gary Elphick

Brannon O’Neill, Matt Axell and Harvey Sparks had already penned new deals at the club and on Monday evening, Omar Bugiel, Ben Pope, club captain Steve Metcalf, Zack Newton and Jack Fagan also signed new deals.

Keeper Rikki Banks is also committed to another season and joint manager Gary Elphick and first-team coach Matt Piper have again signed on as players. Will Hendon and Corey Heath are set to sign their deals this week and Worthing will also make one more addition but that is likely to be done once the season has started.

Last season’s top scorer Lloyd Dawes joined Lewes last month, while Ryan Quirke and Ira Jackson have also left the club.

Rebels joint manager Jon Meeney said: “It’s been a very good summer for us. Most of the players have committed for another season and we’ve brought in players with good character who will aid them.

“We’re very happy with what we’ve done. The season ends and we don’t just go, we need to sign a player. This has been on-going since we’ve come in, you’re always identifying players, taking into consideration the league you’re in, the players you have, the players coming through and your identity.

“The players that have come in have all got things they can bring within their game, but they all want to continue progressing and being part of a club moving forward. That’s why we’ve been able to sell what we stand for at Worthing, as well as how we play.

“They’re entering good stages of their careers and have a lot more to give. They’ve got a good springboard behind them and it’s nice to get them all done and dusted and we can now look forward to preparing the most healthy pre-season that we can to give us the best opportunity to start August 13 as we finished the last campaign.”

Rents was delighted to sign for Rebels on Sunday, after finishing last season at Whitehawk. Looking ahead to the new season, he said: “Any team that goes up, their first aim is to stay in the league. I think it’s important to get off to a good start and I know that Jon and Gary will set us up well.

“We’ll look to get a few wins under our belt early just to get some confidence and then see where we go. We can have a look at things after a month or two, see where we’re at and I think that will determine the overall aim for the season.”

At 28, Rents will be one of the older heads in the changing room. He said: “I’m still learning, too, but I will use the experience I’ve picked up over the years, little bits and bobs, to help everyone out and everyone else will help me out as well.

“It’s a team mentality that’s going to help the club succeed.”

Long-serving Worthing FC volunteer Gareth Nicholas will pick up the club’s under-21 award for winning their league at Saturday’s Ryman dinner at the Hilton Hotel, Wembley Stadium.

Rebels chairman George Dowell said: “One of the things that became apparent in my first full year at the club is the contribution of all of our volunteers. When we told the Ryman League of our intention to have Gareth receive the award, they said what a nice gesture it was and thoroughly deserved.”

Meeney will also be at the dinner to receive the first team award for the Ryman South play-off success.

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