Rowland: my hardest pre-season yet

Developing his squad for the 2013-14 season has proved harder than United boss Simon Rowland (pictured) anticipated.

Rowland admits he is close to where he wants to be but still wants to add another three or four faces before their opening game of the season.

United enjoyed a 1-0 pre-season friendly victory against Lancing on Tuesday night and on Thursday evening they were due to play Shoreham away.

Next week, they have further friendlies against St Francis and Crowborough before a testing home friendly against Hastings United at the Oval on July, 30.

Rowland, who missed the Lancing match on Tuesday due to a knee operation, said, “It’s been the hardest pre-season I have endured as a manager.

“It has taken a lot of organising and a lot of planning but we are just about getting there.

“Players have many options in this area and it has been tough getting players to commit.

“There are many county league teams nearby and we are also competing with Eastbourne Town for players.

“Rightly or wrongly, a lot of players are getting their heads turned with the lure of Ryman League football.”

Rowland also has seen his skipper Peter Featherstone depart for Town alongside top scorer Liam Baitup, while striker Peter Cooper has moved to Bexhill.

He added, “I’m piecing together a good squad and I’m part of fantastic project here at the Oval, but it will take time.”