Worthing boss Adam Hinshelwood is confident he’ll keep the bulk of last season’s squad together, with two of the main question marks over Lucas Covolan and Aarran Racine.
Hinshelwood is sitting down with players this week to try to finalise who is staying and who will move on.
Worthing finished 16th in the Ryman League Premier Division with 57 points from 46 games, having had just one point from nine matches when Hinshelwood took over in September. The club has ambitions to reach National South and Hinshelwood hopes to get most of his summer business done early.
He said: “I’m relatively confident we’ll keep the vast bulk of last year’s squad together and there are one or two areas I feel we need to improve, so we’ll look to do that.
“It’s the worst time at the moment, you’re not sure whether you’re coming or going and things are a bit up in the air. Everyone wants to try to play as high as they can but I’m hopeful a vast bulk will be agreed by the end of the week.
“The majority have already said they want to stay.”
Goalkeeper Covolan and defender Racine, who was also assistant manager last season, have spoken of their ambitions to play at a higher level. But Hinshelwood hopes to keep them and both have been made offers to stay at Woodside Road.
Covolan was named the Worthing supporters’ and Away Boys’ player of the season and Hinshelwood said: “He’s still got that desire to play higher. He’s gone back to Brazil now but we’ve put an offer on the table to him.
“When he came over here, he wanted to try to be a professional and we’d be foolish to say we’re not going to let him do that. When he comes back we’ll try to sort him out with some trials and then it’s down to him.
“If it doesn’t work out, he’s got an offer ready to take but we don’t want things dragging to close to the start of the season without us knowing whether we’ve got Lucas or not.
“We’ve got an agreement in place on a certain date by which he’s got to let us know by. We haven’t had an offer come in for him yet, so I’m quietly confident (he’ll stay) but if not then we’ve got some alternative plans in place.”
Racine spent five years at Forest Green Rovers but suffered a knee injury on loan at Torquay last year and only made his return to action after 14 months out in March.
He coached at Worthing last season and Hinshelwood said: “Aarran’s been massive not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well and is involved in our Academy set-up too.
“I know there’s a desire to play higher from Aarran but we’ve got a top-class player in our ranks and it would be foolish if we’re a club who are ambitious not to put in an offer to at least get him thinking about something.
“By the end of this week I want to have the vast majority of the squad announced and settled.”
Reece Meekums starred on loan from Brighton last season and Hinshelwood would like to keep him at Woodside Road if he does not get a new deal at Albion.
Alfie Young was named Worthing’s players’ player of the year at Friday’s presentation evening and Joel Colbran took the manager’s player award.
The under-18 manager’s player of the year went to Hayden Skerry, while Harrison Mott was named the players’ player.
Hannah Hewitt was the ladies’ manager’s player of the season and the players’ player award went to Gemma Worsfold.