Experienced additions could be key for Lancing

Former Southern Combination League title-winner Shaun Charles has joined Lancing ahead of the new season
Former Southern Combination League title-winner Shaun Charles has joined Lancing ahead of the new season

Manager Ash Bailey believes his summer signings could lift Lancing Football Club to the next level.

Lancers were a surprise package for many in the Southern Combination League Premier Division last term.

Bailey’s side managed to secure a fourth-placed league finish, while also lifting the Peter Bentley Cup for their first silverware in 26 years.

Lancing were still in with a title chance heading into the final few months of the season but Bailey felt a lack of depth and experience left his side a little short.

Over the close season, Lancers’ boss has moved quickly to rectify that as they look to mount another title push.

Former Premier Division winners Danny Gainsford, Lee Garnham and Shaun Charles have all signed.

With that trio coming on board and a confident squad from last term, Bailey believes there is no limit to what his side could achieve.

He said: “We had such a good season last year and I feel with what we’ve brought into the team, this year will be better.

“We were well in the title race up until the final few months of the season. I felt a lack of depth and experience in certain situations cost us dearly.

“Over the close season, that’s what I’ve looked to address and we’ve got a really good mix here now.”

Bailey’s experienced recruitment drive took on added importance following the departure of three influential players over the close season.

Skipper Naim Rouane, Josh Spinks and David O’Callaghan have all agreed moves away, so with those wise heads gone Bailey knew he needed more know-how within his side.

He added: “We lost some experienced players over the summer so I wanted to add some more to the squad.

“Were disappointed to lose the players we have but I’ve spoken to them all and they had their reasons.

“In my opinion, the team we have assembled here now is a lot better than what we had last year.”

Bailey’s first full season in charge gets under way on Saturday with a journey to Southern Counties East League side Beckenham Town in the extra-preliminary round of the FA Cup.

With several initiations to get through on the way, Bailey is hoping his side can build up a good spirit before the game.

He said: “We’ve got a few initiations to get through on the way and that should get everyone in good spirits and ready for the game.

“It’s all about performing on the pitch and I have every confidence we’ll be able to do that on the day.

“It’s a great competition and progressing would be a nice way for us to start the new season.”

In: Danny Gainsford, Lee Garnham (both Steyning Town), Dan Pollard (AFC Varndeanians), Ryan Quirke (Worthing), Shaun Charles (Littlehampton) Harry Heath (Shoreham).

Out: Naim Rouane (Haywards Heath), Josh Spinks, Lewis Westlake (Hassocks), Toby House (Loxwood), David O’Callaghan (Shoreham).

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