By Derren Howard
New signing Kane Wills was delighted to score the winner against his former club Bognor Regis last Monday and now he aims to help Eastbourne Borough continue their climb up the table.
Borough are 12th in the National League South following two wins in their last three matches and after a rocky start, they are now unbeaten in five.
Tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm) they welcome Chippenham Town to Priory Lane ahead of Tuesday’s home match with Concord Rangers.
Wills signed from Worthing last week and made his debut during the 1-1 draw against Wealdstone. The 27-year-old then capped a man-of-the-match performance with a 70th minute winner in the 1-0 victory at Nyewood Lane on Bank Holiday Monday.
“When you arrive at a new club you always want to get off to the best possible start,” Wills said. “Playing against Wealdstone and then getting the winner at Bognor was just great. I feel I have settled in well. The lads could not have been more welcoming but you still have to perform.”
Wills was on contract at Worthing but admitted it was an easy decision to switch to Priory Lane and team up once again with manager Jamie Howell.
“I have worked with Jamie before at Bognor. He knows what I can do and I know what he wants from me.
“My role is to sit in front of the back four and help take the pressure off the defence but also to instigate attacks.
“I have to be available to receive the ball and then deliver to attacking players in good areas so they can hurt the opposition. It’s my favourite role and one I feel my game is most suited to.”
Wills had a brief stint at the Lane as a raw 19-year-old in 2010 but was soon loaned out to Lewes and didn’t feature for Borough again.
“I never made it beyond the friendlies to be honest. It was a bit weird as I’d played quite a bit in preseason. But after three or four games it was clear I was surplus.
“I was loaned out to Lewes and ended up playing right midfield. Anyone who has seen me play knows I’m not a right midfielder, so that move didn’t last long either!”
Wills, who was on the fringes of the Brighton first team as a youngster, went on to forge a successful non-league career in the midfield at Bognor Regis then Worthing. He now hopes it’ll be second time lucky with Eastbourne.
“I’m older now. I have a lot more experience and I believe I can help Jamie and the club achieve what they want to achieve. We hope to be sniffing around the play-offs this season. It’s a crazy league so you never really know but I feel we have the quality and the work ethic.”
The new arrival fits perfectly with Howell’s aim to produce a winning team with a core of Sussex talent. He joined alongside summer signings Will Hendon, Leon Redwood and Yemi Odubade who all have their roots in Sussex. Wills lives in Lancing and works in Hove and his father, a regular visitor to Priory Lane, is based in Eastbourne.
“I think it is important to have that affinity to the local area and the club,” Wills added. “We can spend a bit more time and perhaps have a drink with the fans after matches because we haven’t got long journeys to get back home. Everything is just a bit easier, it’s easier for training and also for midweek matches.
“My dad is certainly a Borough supporter now. He’s always at the games watching youth matches, the under-18s and the first team, he’s really into it.”
Wills anticipates two tough games at home against Chippenham on Saturday and then Concord on Tuesday night. He plans to be an influential figure in the midfield but despite his goal at Bognor, he doesn’t expect to among the leading scorers this term.
“I’ve got my one goal for the season, so I can put my shooting boots away now,” he said with a chuckle. “If that shot against Bognor hadn’t gone in, I might have been in trouble. I wasn’t supposed to be that high up the pitch. I think I’ll leave it to the attacking players now.
“We have two home games against Chippenham then Concorde. We are yet to win at home this season and we want to put that right for the fans.”