The Rocks’ 2019-20 squad is starting to fall into place with a key trio from last season’s squad plus two players who featured on loan set to sign.
Boss Jack Pearce has held positive talks with Jimmy Muitt, Doug Tuck, Harvery Whyte, Ashton Leigh and Freddie Read.
Leigh has become the first of those to sign and the Rocks are hopeful others will follow
They are also set to run the rule over Moneyfields and former Pagham midfielder Lloyd Rowlatt – among others – in pre-season while youngsters Josh McCormick and Emmett Dunn are both set to be part of the first-team squad.
Other key men from last season, such as defenders Keaton Wood and Chad Field, are also thought likely to stay at Nyewood Lane while talks with a potential striker recruit could be wrapped up within a week or so.
It’s positive news from Nyewood Lane as the club work towards buulding a squad capable of a serious promotion bid next season, improving on the last injury-hit campaign that ended in a 14th-place finish.
Centre-forward Muitt will be a key signing – he was top scorer last season and when injury ruled him out for two months towwards the end of the season, the Rocks’ form was badly hit.
Midfielder Tuck and skipper and utility man Whyte have been permanent fixtures in the side for several seasons now and fans are likely to see commitments to the cause from the duo as good news.
Midfielder Read was one of a number of teenagers the Rocks borrowed from the Pompey academy throughout last season and his all-action style was a hit in the few games he played. Read has since been released by Pompey.
Loan deals for two other Blues youngsters seen at Bognor last season who are still at Fratton Park – forwards Brad Lethbridge and Leon Maloney – have also been spoken about by Rocks bosses.
Left-back Leigh was another who impressed coming in on loan – in his case from Wessex League side Baffins Milton Rovers and with the departure of last season’s regular left-side full-back Joe Tomlinson, he is another ideal addition to the squad.
Right-back McCormack and attacking midfielder Dunn, both still in their teens, were part of the side who landed Bognor’s first trophy in 32 years, playing in the Sussex Senior Cup final win over Burgess Hill.
Rowlatt made a handful of Rocks appearances in his younger days and has impressed more recently in the Southern League with Moneys.
Bognor boss Pearce said: “It’s still early days but we have had positive talks with a number of players already and expect to have similar discussions with others in the very near future.
“I’m pleased with how the squad is starting to take shape. You can’t take anything for granted in the close season but I’m happy with how we’re looking at the moment.”
As reported last week, Gibraltar under-21 midfielder Jack Breed,of Wessex League team AFC Portchester, is another set to try to impress Pearce and coach Robbie Blake in pre-season.
Bognor have already brought defender James Crane back to the Lane after his season at Worthing.
Pre-season training begins on Friday, June 28, with the first friendly coming at home to Havant on Tuesday, July 9.