A NEW management team is in place at Storrington Football Club with James Baker stepping up from the reserve side to run the first-team with Nigel Dyer.
Baker, 29, was boss at Lancing United in the West Sussex League for six seasons, when he was also the assistant manager of the West Sussex League representative team, before he joined Swans as reserve team boss for the campaign just finished.
He guided them to a fourth-placed finish in County League Reserves Section West Division and has now been appointed joint first-team boss with Dyer after Ricky Hamilton quit the club at the end of the season.
Baker is hoping for a top-five finish next season in County League Division 2 and said: “I feel that if we can keep the majority of the squad together and bring in a couple of new signings, then we can get into the top five.
“That will be our aim and I think it’s achievable.
“I’ve spoken to the majority of this season’s squad and the bulk of them have said they’ll be staying.
“We finished eighth last season, so I don’t think it needs a whole squad of new players to make us compete.
“Hopefully, the addition of a couple of new players will propel us into the top five or six and some silverware. We’ll also look to bring on some of the younger players through the club and help them to keep developing.”
Baker is relishing the opportunity of his first senior role and added: “I’m really looking forward to it.
“I’ve worked my way up and it’s what I’ve been working towards for the last seven seasons and it’s the right time for my first senior role.”
On working alongside Dyer, who was assistant to Hamilton last season and has been at the club for several years, Baker said: “He’s a brilliant coach and has got great experience and we’re very lucky to have him.”
Hamilton believes that Baker is the right man to take the club forward and said: “I’m very pleased with the appointment, I think the club have done the right thing and it’s the continuation of work me and Nigel have done over the last three years.
“James has been involved for the past 12 months so he knows all the guys, and what we have been trying to achieve, so it’s a very good appointment for the stability of the club.
“I’m sure he’ll do a great job along with Nigel, who’s worth his weight in gold.”
Swans have already had several enquiries regarding their vacant reserve team manager’s job and Baker expects an appointment to be made within the next two weeks.
l Lancing were pipped to the Division 2 title on Saturday when AFC Uckfield got the win they needed to be crowned champions.
Uckfield beat Steyning Town 7-2 after hitting five goals in the last 12 minutes.