Sammy Donnelly has been busy structuring Shoreham Football Club’s squad ready for their first-ever Bostik League onslaught.
Mussels, who were promoted as champions from the Southern Combination League Premier Division last term, will be managed by Donnelly after previous boss Bryan O’Toole stepped down earlier in the summer.
Donnelly has a wealth of experience managing at Bostik League level, having been in charge of Worthing, Walton & Hersham and Three Bridges to name a few at this particular standard.
Following O’Toole’s depart-ure, several of last season’s squad left as well, though Donnelly has been able to keep hold of Jamie Cradock, Lee Denyer, Mark Zydonik, Scott Packer and Tom Caplin.
As well as getting those five to re-sign with Shoreham, James Broadbent, Alex Laing, Andrew Dalehouse, Ikechi Eze and Mark Goldson have all agreed on deals to be part of Mussels’ first-ever Bostik League assault.
Those five all have experience at Bostik League standard or higher and Donnelly feels that is important when looking at players to recruit this summer.
He said: “It’s still work in progress in terms of my squad at the minute but I’m pleased to have built a solid base at the moment.
“James (Broadbent) is someone I’ve worked with before and look forward to doing so again.
“He’s played as high as National League level with Rushden & Diamonds, which was then the Conference.
“James is still only young and will keep getting better, he won near enough every award at Hassocks last season and I’m pleased to have him on board.
“Andrew (Dalehouse) is another I’ve worked with previously and managed to get to come to Shoreham.
“He’s one with experience at the level we are going into, which will be important.”
Mussels kicked off their pre-season programme with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of division-lower SCFL Premier Pagham at Middle Road on Tuesday.
Scott Murfin bagged both goals for Lions to send Shoreham to defeat in their opening friendly.
Results are not a worry for Donnelly at present – just getting a team to gel and work together is the priority.
He said: “Results are not my concern at the minute, getting these players time on the pitch and used to playing with each other is.
“We’ve still got a few friendlies left and we’ll only get better as the season draws closer.”
Donnelly takes his team to SCFL Division 1 Steyning Town on Saturday.
With pre-season now in full flow, Donnelly has seen a sense of excitement around the club ahead a step into the unknown this season and said: “It’s a great time to be part of Shoreham. I’m not aware of any team at the level we are going into making the step into the division for the first time this season.
“It’s going to be a challenge, I’ve made all of the boys aware of that, but I think it’s something that excites them and me.
“Getting the chance to play this level with Shoreham is great.”
Shoreham have been drawn to face Combined Counties Premier League Colliers Wood or SCFL Premier Division AFC Uckfield in the FA Cup preliminary round on Saturday, August 19.
Mussels first-ever appearance in the FA Trophy will see them take on Southern League East side Egham Town in a preliminary round encounter on Saturday, October 7.
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