Mass player exodus could be a blessing - Dennis

Eastbourne United boss Brian Dennis believes the player exodus at The Oval could prove to be a blessing in disguise.

Dennis has seen the bulk of last season's squad depart, with eight having already joined Tony Coade at County League Division Two Seaford Town.

Coade, who was assistant manager at United last term, took the reins at Seaford in May and Joe Haffenden, Nick Maynard, Danny Andrews, Tom Morton, Simon Stevens, Lee Walsh, Rafa Ciupinski and Steve Dallaway all swiftly followed him to the Crouch.

And with funds being directed towards redevelopment of a dilapidated Oval, Dennis has been left with little to attract experienced players to the club.

As well as the Seaford departures, former skipper Reece Head has joined East Grinstead while Lee Jules has moved to Whitehawk – but Dennis remains upbeat.

"It's probably time for some of those players to move on," he said, "At the end of the day maybe they got complacent. But it's the ones who have taken a backward step that amaze me.

"It's football – to start with I took it personally, but it's up to them, no ill feelings, hopefully they'll be successful.

"I don't think it's going to be as easy as they think it is. I don't think you are allowed to play a lot of football down there."

Dennis, along with new first team coaches Paul Daubeney and Paul Sargent, has been running the rule over a host of players ahead of tomorrow's first pre-season friendly against Worthing Utd.

And with a clean slate to work with, the manager is relishing the task in hand.

He said, "It's a challenge. If it's not a challenge, you tend to get stale yourself.

"I think last year I was going through the motions a bit, if I'm honest, but I've got my enthusiasm back. It's going to be exciting if we get the ground development started."

The Oval, which is owned by Eastbourne Borough Council, does not meet requirements either for the Ryman Leagues or the FA Vase.

As such, the club's committee is hoping to be given the green light to bring it up to standard when they meet with the council in August.

And though Dennis is feeling the pinch on the field, he is fully supportive of the club's intentions off it.

"It's a step in the right direction, there's no point in winning the league, like we did two years ago, then not being able to progress."