Sammy Donnelly has wasted no time as he looks to build his Shoreham Football Club squad for the upcoming season.
Donnelly, who was appointed Mussels manager last Friday following Bryan O’Toole’s departure, has agreed deals in principle with four players from last season’s squad.
After discussions, Scott Packer, Alex Laing, Jamie Cradock and Lee Denyer have all given Donnelly assurances they will be staying on, while Ross Myers looks set to sign from Southern Combination League Division 1 outfit Southwick.
New Mussels boss Donnelly admits it is tricky going at present with Mussels still unaware whether they will be playing in the SCFL Premier Division or Ryman League South next season.
Departing boss O’Toole guided Shoreham to a second-placed finish last term, though, table-toppers Haywards Heath Town were charged and handed a nine-point deduction last week for fielding a player while under ‘sine die’ suspension.
Heath have lodged an appeal against the deduction but, as things stand, Mussels look set for the Ryman League for the first time in the club’s history.
Donnelly is wasting no time and is hopeful more agree to remain after discussions.
He said: “I’m pleased to have agreed deals in principle with four players from the team that were here last season.
“Scott (Packer) is a player that I admire greatly, then you’ve got Lee Denyer – a player I have worked with on-and-off since he was 16.
“Both Alex (Laing) and Jamie (Cradock) have great qualities and I’m pleased they’ll be staying around.
“Getting my first signing of the summer so early is also a big boost. Ross (Myers) is a player I’ve admired for a long time, so getting him in is another boost.”
Two that won’t remain with Shoreham next season are Rob O’Toole and Joe Keehan.
O’Toole starred for Mussels netting 36 times in all competitions last season, while Keehan played a pivotal role in midfield.
The duo have decided to join potential Ryman League South rivals Horsham.
Donnelly is hopeful there won’t be many more departures as he plans more face-to-face meetings in the coming weeks.
He added: “I’m a little frustrated to have lost both Joe and Rob.
“They played a big part here last season, so it is disappointing to lose both of those. I’ve been in contact with players who were here last season and hope to meet with them over the next few weeks.” Another who could be joining is former Worthing, East Preston and Arundel forward Dave Herbert, after Donnelly revealed he’s been in discussions with him.
“He’s a quality frontman and a player that is high on my list of people to bring to Shoreham over the summer. It’s just a case of waiting and seeing with Dave,” he said.
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