Boss plans to add ‘mature heads’ to squad after watching his young chargers fall just short

Tommy Widdrington
Tommy Widdrington

Eastbourne Borough manager Tommy Widdrington will be looking to recruit more experienced players to boost his squad this summer after a difficult finish to the season.

The boss is set to meet with club officials over a budget for next season with player recruitment thought to be high on the agenda.

Since Widdrington took over the club have made progress every season while working within a set budget.

He was full of praise for his crop of exciting young players but knows they need to add some experience to make a realistic push for the play-offs in the near future

“We need a few more mature heads, more old school players,” he said.

“The type of people who have been around the block a bit. Unfortunately they come at a cost and it won’t be easy.

“Lots had been made recently about what I have and what I haven’t had to spend on new players.

“At the end of the day, this group of lads got us to where we are today and we will finish the season higher than last year so that has to be a positive.”

The Sports were firmly in the play-off positions at Christmas, but six losses and a further five defeats in their previous six games have cost them and they currently sit 10th in the league.

“We had a dip on form at the time where everyone was talking and thinking that we could have reached the play-offs. I never thought we had a chance to tell the truth,” Widdrington added

Previously the manager had compared his squad to a typical “Grand National horse”, one that could start well but just couldn’t keep up with the favourites in the league such as Eastleigh, Bromley and Ebbsfleet.

In their close-fought defeat to Ebsfleet, Borough had two 16-year-old academy graduates on the bench, while their opponents had the luxury of calling on players on-loan from football league clubs.

While Widdrington is keen for the club to move forward and avoid standing still, he insists that he is more than happy at the club.

“We have to be realistic,” he said.

“You can’t keep taking away and expect things to get better. I don’t want to stand still, I want to keep moving forwards.”

Chelmsford City declared declared interest in his services earlier in the season.

After talks with the club, however, Widdrington rebuffed an offer from Borough’s rivals in favour of continuing the progress that has already been made at Priory Lane since he took from Garry Wilson and Nick Greenwood two-and-a-half seasons ago.

Widdrington’s remit was always to bring down the average age of the squad and he has managed to nurture a young squad in to a team that has solidified in the Skrill South, when it looked as though they might have dropped out in previous seasons.

They have not been beaten twice by any of the promotion hopefuls this season, something the boss was particularly pleased with.

And after committing himself to the club by signing a two year contract after the talks with Chelmsford, he is determined to see the good work through, while remaining realistic that rapid progress might not be possible.

Borough’s final match of the season is this Saturday away at Farnborough and
 victory would see them finish the season on a respectful 
60 points, a decent tally 
on which to build on for the next season in the Skrill South.

However much could still depend on the upcoming budget talks with chairman Len Smith and the committee.

Hayes and Yeading match report and Skrill South round-up on page 95.