Tommy Widdrington embarks on his second full season in charge at Eastbourne Borough with genuine reason for optimism.
A couple of shrewd summer signings have settled in nicely along side a group of hard-working and talented youngsters who helped deliver a near-perfect pre-season campaign.
Borough won all six friendlies, including impressive displays at Margate and at home to Aldershot.
They scored 18 goals in the process and conceded just three and the winning run has given the side a huge morale boost ahead of their first Skrill South league match at Weston-Super-Mare tomorrow.
The average age of the squad has been whittled down since Widdrington’s arrival.
A host of changes were made last season as a new generation of talent bedded in to replace the likes of the long-serving Darren Baker, Matt Crabb, Matt Smart and Ben Austin.
New signings Adam Watts, Charlie Gorman and Chris Shephard all impressed while the likes of Sam Cole, Simon Johnson, Matt Aldred and Darren Lok all gained additional experience at this level.
A 12th-place finish was a decent return on what was a transitional season at the Lane. But this year, the powers that be will expect Widdrington to improve on that league position and also hope for an extended run in the FA Cup to generate much needed funds.
Widdrington said, “This is my team now. I’ll be judged on them. It’s all about making progress from last season. We don’t get up in the morning to come second.”
The main additions to the playing squad have been the excellent Ian Simpemba from Dover while highly-rated ‘keeper Craig Ross was signed from Cambridge United.
Last season’s top-scorer Elliott Charles left the club and signed for big-spending Skrill South rivals Dover Athletic.