Rocks Review: New faces in prospect as Ryman premier plans are drawn up

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The Rocks have already identified players they would like to recruit for their Ryman premier campaign – but are in no hurry to land them.

The management have drawn up a couple of early targets but don’t believe there will be much activity in the transfer market until later in the close season.

They are confident most of this season’s squad will stay at Nyewood Lane – with Steve Harper and Ashley Robinson looking the two most likely to depart.

Harper, who arrived before Christmas on loan from Met Police, has enjoyed his time with the Rocks and weighed in with some crucial goals and assists, but is based in Tonbridge, Kent, and admitted to finding the travelling to games and training hard work.

Robinson has had a nomadic existence in the non-league world and is based in Bromley in south-east London.

But, speaking after the play-off final win over Dulwich Hamlet, he told the Observer he had thoroughly enjoyed his spell at the Lane in which he had felt wanted and loved the team’s style of play, which fitted his own game.

If Harper and Robinson left, it would leave the frontline as the top area for summer strengthening, with Terry Dodd the club’s only other senior striker.

But the feeling is that most of the squad will want to stick around to try to build on the promotion win and establish the club in the premier division.

Joint manager Jamie Howell said: “We’re in the midst of trying to nail people down, but we’ll need a couple of new signings.

“There are a couple we’re interested in but we’re not unduly worried at the moment. We’ll need to be patient and see how things pan out over the summer. Some movement might not happen until we’re into pre-season.

“I’ve had conversations with a number of our existing squad and I think it’s fair to say most want to sign – and some are on contracts already.”

Howell said Harper was weighing up his options and added: “He was brilliant for us but it was hard for him travelling so far.”

And on Robinson, the boss said: “I’ve not had a conversation with him yet and when he came to us in January, it suited us and suited him and worked out very well for both parties.

“If he still wants to play for us, great – we’ve enjoyed working with him, as with Steve.”

Howell said the Rocks would always face a challenge attracting top non-league players but had proved it could be done.

“The football we play and our facilities are attractive - the stumbling block is we don’t pay as much as some teams. We’ll only sign players we can afford, and I think players generally know that and will be sensible about financial demands.”

Apart from new faces, the Rocks are also hopeful of having centre-half Tim Bond fit again for the 2012-13 campaign after a long-lasting groin problem.

Fellow joint boss Darin Killpartrick said pre-season training would start in late June or the first week of July and would take place three times a week until friendlies kicked in.

Friendlies are set to see AFC Wimbledon, Havant, Worthing and Pagham visit Nyewood Lane and the Rocks going to Selsey and Godalming.