Skipper Ollie relishing the extra responsibility

Ollie Rowe has retained the captain's armband for Eastbourne Borough.

Ollie Rowe has retained the captain's armband for Eastbourne Borough.

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Eastbourne Borough captain Ollie Rowe is relishing the start of the new season after a summer of change sees the slate wiped clean for Tommy Widdrington and his team.

This campaign will signify the start of a new era at Priory Lane that not only sees the first full season with Widdrington at the helm, but also the first full season with Ollie Rowe as captain of the squad.

The young defender, who was handed the armband upon Widdrington’s arrival in the middle of last season and has retained the honour for the 2012/2013 season, believes all these changes could lead to a change of fortunes for the Blue Square Bet South side.

“Obviously we want to do as well as possible and finish as high up the table as we can and I think we have a better chance of doing that under Tommy. He’s worked us really hard in pre-season, there’s been a lot more running and fitness, but it feels worth it.

“He’s brought in some really good players that can add to the team and we’re all bonding really well. There’s a great atmosphere in the dressing room, we’re all spending time with each other off the pitch too, but we won’t know how well that works on the pitch until the season starts really.”

Of those players Widdrington has introduced, Rowe is working closely with fellow central defender Anwar Uddin, who has previously featured for a handful of higher-level clubs and could provide valuable experience for Rowe, something the 21-year-old is really looking forward to.

“I’ve been working closely with Anwar and he’s had a lot of experience in the football league. Hopefully I can learn a lot from him.

“Tommy has brought in a lot of experienced players and I think that will really help the team.”

On a personal level, Rowe enjoyed a solid season in the heart of the Borough defence last year and went home with a clean sweep of awards at the club’s presentation evening, scooping the accolades for fans’, players’ and manager’s player of the year.

Widdrington’s captain selection may have raised a few eyebrows when it was first announced but no one was left doubting his decision after Rowe ably stepped up to steer the side clear of their relegation fears.

He said, “I hope to be able to carry that form on this season but we’ll see. I didn’t really think about whether I’d keep the armband or not but, obviously, it has happened and I’m really glad about that.

“I’m a local lad so it’s great for me and it means a lot that the manager thinks that’s the best option for the club. I’m really looking forward to getting back on the pitch.”