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Pearce calls for patience as Bognor build for opening day

Bognor boss Jack Pearce is urging fans not to worry – despite only 11 players being signed up to play for the Rocks next season.


The club’s relegation from National South last season has seen a number of players leave Nyewood Lane.


As Pearce and his first team coach Robbie Blake look to rebuild the squad for the return to step three, they have so far retained nine players and brought in two more.


With no goalkeeper and only one recognised frontman signed on, more arrivals are a certainty. But Pearce is adamant that, given his limited budget, he wants to make sure the people he brings in offer quality, versatility and can fit in with the way Bognor play football.


Pearce made the comments as the Rocks’ pre-season preparations continued.


Much of the focus in the first few weeks will be on fitness before the squad moves on to shape the brand of possession football which has been such a feature of matches at the Nye Camp.


Pre-season also gives Pearce the chance to run the rule over a number of trialists as he looks to finalise the squad for the coming year.


He said: “Training was fine and the lads looked in good shape which is always encouraging.


“At this time of year, it’s always a question of patience when you are looking to recruit new players.


“Holidays don’t help either, with players you have and those you want often away. But we remain confident that we will be in good shape once the big kick-off arrives.”


Quite who Bognor will be playing on opening day is still not known.


The Isthmian League announced this week that fixtures will be released on July 19 – less than a month before the season starts.


Fans will no doubt be keen to put games against Sussex rivals Worthing, Whitehawk, Lewes and Burgess Hill in their diaries.


The return to the league also throws up trips to Tonbrdge Angels, Wingate & Finchley and Enfield Town, all of whom the Rocks have had some epic tussles with over the years.


Before then, though, there is pre-season to deal with and Bognor fans have two headline matches to look forward to.


The first is next Tuesday (July 17) when Brighton & Hove Albion under-23s visit Nyewood Lane. With the Seagulls in the Premier League, the quality of their youth set-up has improved dramatically in recent years so it will be a good test for Pearce’s side.


Then the following week is a visit from League One Portsmouth (July 24, 7.45pm) where Kenny Jackett is sure to bring a strong side for the match.


Both games are expected to bring good crowds which will boost the club’s coffers.

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