THE County League football season is all set to get underway on Saturday and we have previewed all of our local sides.
Here is a list of players news and aims for the season from all of our local teams.
County League Division 1
Managers: Simon Butler and Gary Block.
Aims – Butler: “It’s about time we won some silverware and that’s what we are aiming for.
“We’ve got 26 players signed on, so know it’s about getting the right balance but everyone’s attitude in pre-season has been exceptional.”
Players in: James Fernandes (Worthing), Maciek Kason, Michael Asare, Ruben French, Kieran Urquhart, Ash Hunter, Seb Bagura, Rob Wimble, George Hotson, Scott Dormer, Carl Turney (all Wick), Billy Rayner (Worthing United), Matt Collino, Danny Cowtan (Pagham), Gary Norgate.
Players out: Matt Axell (East Preston).
Managers: Martin Gander and Jason Rutherford.
Aims – Gander: “Every manager in the league will want to win it and so do we but we’ll just go into the season, see what happens and see how we go.
“I’m hoping we’ll do okay and our squad is a lot more experienced and improved from last year.”
Players in: Titus Paterson, Darren Boswell (both Burgess Hill), Sam O’Regan (Ringmer), Graham Martin, Lee Denyer (both Shoreham), Harry Constable (Southwick), Rob Neal, Clay Lamont.
Players out: Chris Hibberd, Lee Garnham, Alex Duncan, Andy McCarthy, Lee Gibbs (all East Preston), Jamie Groves (Worthing), Charlie Monaghan.
Other news: Richard Hudson could be out for three months with an ankle injury, and Dan Turner is ruled out for two months with a hernia.
Manager: Mark Burt.
Aims – Burt: “We want to finish as high as we can but we’ve got to have a far better season than last year.
“All our signings are the right age, around 19 or 20, and we’ve got Michael Standing as well, so I’m quietly confident about the season.
“We want to get off to a flyer but we’ve got a very tough start at home to Redhill, which is going to be a real acid test for us.”
Players in: Charlie Romain (Eastbourne Borough), Michael Standing, David Coles, Josh Clayman (Seaford), Charlie Tomsett (Whitehawk). Players out: Lee Denyer, Graham Martin (both Lancing).
Managers: Dave Shearing and Tobi Hutchinson.
Aims – Hutchinson: “Our target when we first got the job was to stay up and not much has changed apart from we’ve made better signings than we hoped for after we started from scratch.
“It would be a bonus if we could get on a bit of a run, or have a nice little cup run, and maybe push on to mid-table in the league.”
Players in: Ryan Alexander, Mark Oldroyd, Luke Brace, Dean Gilmour, Sam Schaff, Simon Catt, Dave Harris, Lucas Mann, Joe Haffenden, Jay Head. Players out: Nearly all of last season’s squad.
County League Division 2
Manager: Dominic Di Paola.
Aims – Di Paola: “To get promotion. The club needs to get back up to Division 1, which is the standard it should be playing at. It’s not going to be easy. Every team will be honest and committed but I don’t think there will be a stand-out team like Lancing or AFC Uckfield last year.
“We’ve got a difficult start and have got a lot of players in, so, hopefully, we’ll gel early doors.”
Players in: Alex Bryant, Matt Axell (both Arundel), Andy McCarthy, Alex Duncan, Lee Gibbs, Chris Hibberd, Lee Garnham (all Lancing), Joe Stokes, Paul Brown, Sam Corkill, Niall O’Hagan, Seb Di Paola, Aaron Meehan, Joe Shelley, Charlie Oatway, Barney Boutwood, Richy Moss (all Worthing United), Lee Barnard (Angmering), Jordan Clark (Ferring), George Gaskin (Wick), Neil Kane (Hassocks).
Players out: All of last season’s team, except Aaron Farrier, Scott Banfield, Mark Dixon and Sean Davies.
Other news: Striker George Gaskin will miss the first few weeks of the season with a knee injury.
Manager: Mark Bennett.
Aims – Bennett: “We’ve got a young side, so our aims depend on how well they gel. Long-term, our target is to get back into Division 1.
“Our team is mainly youngsters and we’ll encourage them as they’re the way forward and we’ll look to finish as high as possible.”
Players in: Adam Bibb, Liam O’Connor, George Sayers, Sam Rumble (all Rustington), Alex Kew (Pagham), Mitchell Hand (Worthing United), Jamie Wrigley, Aiden Wrigley (both Wick), plus several players from various youth teams. Players out: None.
Other news: Daryl Wollers has dual-signed with Ryman League Bognor.
Manager: Anthony Whittington.
Aims – Whittington: “Promotion is what we’re aiming for, although there’s at least eight or nine teams in the division who have a chance this year.
“We’ve got two 20-goal plus strikers in Paul Eaton and James Wotherspoon now, so we’ll be looking for the top six, with the hope of getting in the top three if we can get on a run and have a bit of luck.”
Players in: Kieran Howard (East Preston), James Wotherspoon (Lancing), Paul Eaton, Joe Whiting, Nick Kerly. Oak are also expecting to sign winger Lloyd Skinner. Players out: Ryan Pretlove, Tony Downs, Jack Packham (all Southwick), Jamie Ash.
Manager: Brett Torode.
Aims – Torode: “I just want to enjoy it like last year, which was thoroughly enjoyable. If we can better last year, then that would be ideal.
“I’ve been impressed with all our new signings, they all have a good attitude, and I think we’re a bit physically stronger this year.”
Players in: Dan Swain (Angmering), Joe Charman, Dale Campbell, Matt Windsor, Tim Leach (all East Preston), Kerry Hardwell, Michael Hamm (both Pagham), John Beaney (Wick), Jason Webb (Steyning), Duncan Barnes, Lee Farrell.
Players out: Liam O’Connor, George Sayers, Sam Rumble, Adam Bibb (all Littlehampton), Matt Huckett.
Other news: Lee Farrell is out for a month with a hamstring injury.
Managers: Roger Feest and Lloyd Saunders.
Aims – Saunders: “We’re just looking to improve on last season and move up a few places on where we finished last year.”
Players in: Ryan Pretlove, Tony Downs, Jack Packham (all Mile Oak), Ryan Storey (Hastings), Luke Mighall (Lancing). Players out: Chris Logan (AFC Uckfield).
Other news: Sam Blundell, who top-scored with 21 goals for Wickers last season is out for six to seven months after injuring his knee cap and fellow striker George Turrell misses the start of the season with a broken arm.
Manager: Richard Whittington.
Aims – Whittington: “To improve the quality of the football played at Steyning and to win as many games as possible and see where we end up. It’s a strong division this season and a mid-table finish wouldn’t be a disgrace. I also have one eye on the league cup. It would be a great achievement for us to be in a final.”
Players in: Mike Abbott (Hassocks), Dan Ford (Lancing), Sean Hourigan, Ben Shelford, Grant Ansbro, Sam Burton, Jack Goatcher, James Edmonds, Alan Davis. Players out: Mark Oldroyd, Dave Harris Tyler Goatcher, Ryan Walton, Jack Reeder, Dean Gilmour.
Manager: James Baker.
Aims – Baker: “County League Division 2 this year will be extremely strong once again, we feel that a top-five finish ought to be well within our capabilities and we hope that we can also push on well in the cups once again.”
Players in: Shaun Skipper, Keiran Beales, Ryan Taylor (all Lancing), Luke Barber (Clymping), Matt Rance (Arundel). Players out: Tim Martin (Horsham YMCA), Steve Tasker (Crawley, coach), Stuart McCall (retired).
Manager: Richard Towers.
Aims – Towers: “Obviously, I’ve had a lot of experience managing teams and I’m hoping we can do as well as we can. It’s a tough league to get out of, so I’m hoping we gel quickly but we will get better as the season goes on.”
Players in: Callum Cutler, Jamie Ford (both Chichester), Joe Leggett (Sidlesham), Danny Miller, Johnny Miller, Danny Jones, Dave Spellar, plus several more players from lower leagues.
Players out: Maciek Kason, Michael Asare, Ruben French, Kieran Urquhart, Ash Hunter, Seb Bagura, Rob Wimble, George Hotson, Scott Dormer, Carl Turney (all Arundel).
County League Division 3
Manager: Sam Beattie.
Aims – Beattie: “Things have been going okay since I took over and we’ve been slowly building a decent side up. We’ve had no big names in, but we are slowly rebuilding the club as a first, reserve and youth team.
“We’ll steady the ship this year, ready for a challenge next season.”
Manager: Stuart Maltman.
Aims – Maltman: “We’re going out to win it. We’ve had some really good pre-season results and the way things are going, I can’t see why we can’t go out and win the league.”
Players in: Matt Wilson, Ross Fraser, Chad Milner (all East Preston), Alf Boiling (Southwick), Dave MacNeil (Shoreham), Kristy Manhakk (Whitehawk), Ash Minter, Will Brown, Sam Dickery (Selsey), Rob Matthews (Clymping), Jack Boxall (Worthing United), Josh Smith (Rottingdean), Curt Milner, Jack Carey (dual-signed with Worthing).