Bognor boss Jack Pearce believes the club have made a real coup in snapping up their new first team coach – and is backing the former Premier League striker to help get the Rocks firing for the new season.
Robbie Blake took over the reins as a key member of the backroom staff last month after leaving League One Portsmouth.
With a wealth of football league experience behind him, as well as playing stints in the top flight with Bradford and Bolton Wanderers, Pearce says the former striker will be a big influence at Nyewood Lane.
Top of his challenges is solving the Rocks’ shortcomings in front of goal, with Bognor netting less than a goal a game in the National League South.
However, it looks as though rebuilding for the return to the Isthmian Premier will not include last season’s top scorer, Ollie Pearce, who looks unlikely to re-sign for next year.
Pearce said: “It’s not very often first team coaches of League One sides come into a step three set-up, so we are extremely delighted to have him on board. As a forward who has played and scored at all levels,§ hopefully he can help us in the final third of the pitch where we struggled last year.”
Pearce was alerted to Blake’s availability by a contact at Portsmouth. With the former Bolton striker keen to stay in the area, the two met over lunch and agreed a deal.
Pearce said: “I told him it would be a learning curve and a bit different to what he’s used to but hopefully he will enjoy it. It may be that he comes on the radar for other clubs but I hope he will be with us for a long period.”
With the midfield and defence pretty much covered for the season ahead, Pearce and Blake are focused on improvements to the front line.
This week the club confirmed it would run the rule over a proven striker with bags of National League experience when the Rocks return for pre-season training next month.
The attacker, whose identity the club are keeping under wraps, is just one of an exciting crop of trialists bidding for a contract at Nyewood Lane.
Also vying to earn a deal is a promising young forward who bagged more than 30 goals for his club last season.
Pearce is also hopeful Jimmy Muitt will remain for another season. However, his strike partner for much of the past campaign, Ollie Pearce, looks unlikely to stay as he seeks a new challenge after six years at the club.
The manager said: “It’s an area we are looking to strengthen in as it’s an area that we didn’t do very well in last year. It doesn’t matter how much ball you have, you need to score goals. I’m not panicking at the moment but it is an area that we know we need to improve on.”