Chichester City boss Miles Rutherford is hopeful his side can get off to a flying start this season – despite being handed some tricky opening fixtures.
City travel to Arundel for an extra-preliminary round FA Cup clash on Saturday before getting their Southern Combination League Premier Division campaign with games against Eastbourne Townand Newhaven.
Rutherford feels it could not get much tougher for his side and after an indifferent pre-season sees a good start as a must.
City wrapped up their programme of warm-up games with a 1-1 draw with Christchurch at Oaklands Park on Saturday, which ended with them winning a penalty shootout 4-1 to lift the Steve Bernard Memorial Trophy.
The first half saw Chichester on top but unable to take their chances, but just before the break a fine goal by George Way gave them the advantage.
Christchurch levelled in the second half to force the shootout.
Rutherford said of the opening to City’s season: “We’ve been handed a really tough start but it’s something we’ve got to get on with. We struggled against Arundel last season and we know what a tough challenge that will be.
“After that we’ve got Eastbourne Town, who were second last year, then Newhaven in our first two league games.
“Unavailability has hampered us a little bit over the summer but we want to start well.”
After losing skipper Ruben French to Pagham, Rutherford has managed to bring in the experienced pair of Julian Boniface and Max Thoms.
Jimmy Wild has dual-signed with Ryman League Premier side Bognor, with his focus on the Rocks early on.
Rutherford revealed he was close to adding another striker before Saturday’s curtain-raiser.
He added: “Jimmy’s dual-signed with Bognor and we wish him all the best with them. I’m looking to add another striker and a deal is quite close I hope. Hopefully he’ll be good for us here at Chichester.
“Those first ten games are crucial and everyone wants to do well and go as far as they can in the FA Cup.”
Chi City ins: Jack Lee (Moneyfields), Julian Boniface (Pagham), Max Thoms (Chichester City).
Outs: Ruben French (Pagham), Jimmy Wild (Bognor, dual-signed).
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