Shoulders excited as Oak squad takes shape

Mile Oak Football Club manager  Ben Shoulders
Mile Oak Football Club manager Ben Shoulders

Mile Oak Football Club boss Ben Shoulders says he cannot wait for the new season to start now.

Shoulders, who was in charge of Worthing United reserves last term, replaced long-serving Oak boss Anthony Whittington earlier this summer.

At just 27, some may see his step into first-team management and Southern Combination League Division 1 as too much of a risk, but Shoulders does not see it that way.

Ten players from his Worthing United team have followed him to Oak, with Jamie McKenzie, Craig Stevens, Enzo Benn, Joe Benn, John Buggy, Ben Symes, Adam Khan, Ben May, Callum Clarke and Will Fuller all signing on.

From last season’s Mile Oak squad, only Adam Dine and Fergus Davies have departed and Shoulders sees huge promise in his team.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to the new season now.

“I’ve managed to bring several players across with me, while also keeping most of the squad already here.

“I’m in a better place than I was expecting to be.”

Pre-season preparations are well under way with a 3-3 draw against Southern Combination League Premier Division side Lancing a highlight.

With just four friendlies left until Oak kick off the new season, Shoulders knows his side need to keep working hard. In their first game, Oak face Combined Counties League Premier Division outfit Guildford City in a FA Cup extra-preliminary round clash.

That will be Shoulders’ first taste of the competition and, with Oak the lowest ranked team, he is hoping for an upset.

He said: “I’m excited about the FA Cup. It will be mine and some of the team’s first taste. With us being the lowest ranked team, it gives us a chance of an upset.”

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