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Pearce vows Rocks are ready as stage is set for new season

Bognor boss Jack Pearce is confident his side will give a good showing this season as the Bostik Premier season gets underway.


After months of hard work rebuilding the squad following relegation from National South, Rocks’ campaign starts at White Hart Lane in north London tomorrow against newly-promoted Haringey Borough (3pm).


That will be followed by a home match against Surrey-side Merstham under the lights at Nyewood Lane on Tuesday (7.45pm).


With a host of young fresh faces, and a new coach alongside him in the dugout in the shape of former Premier League striker Robbie Blake, many would be forgiven for thinking that confidence would be sky-high.


But, when asked if there were any targets for the season, Pearce has drily said he hopes the club can avoid relegation.


That comment was perhaps said to manage expectations and lift the pressure on what he admits is one of the youngest squads he has put together in many years.


Regardless, Rocks fans will be disappointed if they are not at the business end of the table this season.


Pearce said: “We’re happy with how things are going.


“The lads are in good shape and we’re looking forward to what’s ahead.”


A host of new faces have come into the club over the summer, including Harvey Sparks (Worthing), Marley Ridge (Havant & Waterlooville), and Dan Smith and Brad Lethbridge (both Portsmouth).


The biggest question that remains is over the Rocks goalkeeping position.


Dan Lincoln has held the number one shirt for the past two seasons and impressed many with his shot-stopping ability.


But, as with last season, the future of the Berkshire-based stopper has been unclear throughout pre-season as the 23-year-old looks for a club which is closer to his Home Counties base.


Lincoln, who has been fitting in training alongside his appearances on the cricket pitch for Middlesex Seconds and Berkshire, did appear between the sticks last Friday in Bognor’s last pre-season friendly at Gosport.


But, with the Rocks also considering a number of options, at the time of going to press, no announcement had been made about who will appear during the first week of the season.


At the other end of the pitch, it seems the new additions will ease the goalscoring crisis of last season, where Bognor netted an average of less than a goal a game in the league.


Pompey loanee Smith netted twice in the 3-2 win at Gosport while right back Calvin Davies continued his fine pre-season form by scoring the other.

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