Town recruit free-scoring Baitup to boost front line

Liam Baitup
Liam Baitup
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Eastbourne Town have secured a wealth of signatures ahead of the new season, including that of prolific striker Liam Baitup from local rivals Eastbourne United.

Baitup finished the 2012/13 season as the top goalscorer in the entire Sussex County Football League, netting 39 times across all competitions.

Now, he’s signed on the dotted line and switched the Oval for the Saffrons to join up with Town’s club manager Ady Colwell once again.

Colwell said, “When I was here between 2005 and 2009, I had Liam on my books. That was in the Ryman Leagues and he scored goals for me then, so I know he can do it at this level.

“While I must stress Kevin Laundon is the first team manager, I know Liam well and he comes back to the club a more mature player and a more mature person.”

Baitup is just one of many additions for Town’s new management team in the lead up to the new campaign, but the work certainly doesn’t stop here.

As Town’s pre-season schedule kicked off earlier this month, the club were swamped with almost 30 players turning up to training with hopes of playing for the Ryman League outfit’s first team, many as a result of the disbanding of Eastbourne Borough’s Reserve team.

Now, Colwell insists Laundon has a huge job on his hands in whittling down this number to select the strongest possible 16-man squad to start the 2013/14 season.

Colwell added, “Kevin is running the rule over things but he has a really tough decision to make now because we’ve had between 28 and 30 realistic potential first-team players turn up for training and he has to pick and choose which ones he wants in his squad - not just the starting 11 but the 16-18 man squad.

“It’s good to have the choice - variety is the spice of life - but at the end of the day, you have to decide what direction you want to go down.

“Admittedly, we have had a number of former reserve team players from Borough come down and they look quite sharp.”

All in all, Colwell believes the club is in the right place ahead of their first pre-season friendly, away to Lewes on Wednesday, and is optmistic of what the season ahead will hold.

He concluded, “We’re confident of making further additions before the season starts. There’s quite a bit going on here at the moment but it’s all moving in the right direction.

“Kevin and I are happy with where we are at the moment and looking forward to continuing to move forward.”

Other new faces to arrive at the Saffrons include goalkeeper Greg Nessling and last season’s Eastbourne United skipper Peter Featherstone.

Young midfielder George Jones, who started on the youth books at Brighton before playing for Lewes and Hastings, has also signed on the dotted line.

Former Eastbourne Borough man Billy Medlock and centre-half Dan Pollard, from Ringmer, complete the new additions.

A number of last season’s players have also signed on at Eastbourne Town, including Luke Denton, Adam Davidson, Dan Rogers and Ross Sutton. Left-sided Ben Billings has also committed his immediate future to the club.

Eastbourne Town will come up against former bosses Danny Bloor and Garry Wilson, as well as a whole host of former players, on Wednesday as they travel to the Dripping Pan to face the management duo’s mew club, Lewes, in a pre-season friendly. (KO: 7.45pm)