Monday, 12 June 2017


Harrow Borough
Francis Babalola,  Harry Newman,  Josh Webb, Andy Lomas, George Nicholas, Luke Williams and Steve Brown were all part of last season's Borough squad but will not be with the club for the 2017/18 campaign. Steve Baker's side start their pre-season campaign with an away trip to Kensington Borough on Saturday 22nd July with their most high profile friendly being on Saturday 29th July when a Cardiff City XI visit Earlsmead which has been arranged as part of the transfer of centre-forward Ibrahim Meite who joined the Welsh club in January 2017 making one appearance coming on as substitute against Wigan Athletic on Saturday 22nd April. 


The 2017/18 campaign will be Gary McCann's 12th full season in charge of the Middlesex side having taken over in February 2005 and he'll be looking to finish higher than the 19th position the club have ended up in for the last two seasons. McCann has committed to the club for the next two years and this will be their second full season at Silver Jubilee Park. Tom Lovelock, Arthur Lee (who won three player of the year awards), Casey Maclaren (323 apps for the club), Sam Murphy and Matt Ball have all signed for the season with Niko Muir who has returned to the club after spending part of the 2016/17 campaign with Leiston. Khale Da-Costa has left to move up to the Vanarama South division with Concord Rangers. Hanwell Town visit SJP on Tuesday 11th July in their first pre-season game with new Vanarama National side Ebbsfleet United visiting on Tuesday 25th July their stand out fixture. 


The K's will ground-share with Leatherhead after moving out of Kingsmeadow at the end of last season. Manager Craig Edwards has been busy confirming the re-signing of Rob Tolfrey, Aaron Goode, Aaron Lamont, Tom Derry and Lewis Taylor along with left sided midfielder/defender Toby Little who was with Southern League Premier Division Chesham United last season and has also played in the Conference with Hayes and Yeading United. The K's visit Horsham in their first pre-season friendly on Saturday 8th July. 

Jimmy Bullard left Fetcham Grove to be swiftly replaced by Sammy Moore who will be player-manager for the new season. Moore is most well known for his time with AFC Wimbledon between 2010 to 2015 where he played over 150 times. He was with Leyton Orient and Dover Athletic last season. 

The Tanners have already made two impressive signings with Jack Midson and Lee Minshull continuing the AFC Wimbledon connection. Striker Midson scored 18 goals in the football league for The Dons in 2011/12 and spent last season with Braintree Town in the Vanarama National. Midfielder Minshull has been with Bromley in the Vanarama National for the last two seasons where he had become a real fan's favourite. He was with AFC Wimbledon between 2010 to 2012 and has also played for Newport County where he helped the Welsh club into the football league in 2013. Key player's Jerry Nnamani and Paul Semuka have also signed for the season. 

With players of the quality of Midson and Minshull it's likely Leatherhead will looking at finishing higher than the 13th place they achieved last season. 

It's been a busy pre-season for the Suffolk side already with a number of signings made. Midfielder Robert Eagle has joined his home town club - He started his career with Norwich City where he made ten first team appearances before moving onto Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Grimsby Town. He played for Alfreton Town, Lowestoft Town and was with AFC Sudbury last season. Dominic Doherty, also a midfielder, has joined after spending four seasons with Lowestoft Town. Kyle Hammond, a right sided midfielder or defender, has moved after an impressive two seasons with Division One (North) side Maldon and Tiptree. Striker Christy Finch has also joined after a successful spell with Norwich United last season. Goalkeeper Marcus Garnham has left relegated AFC Sudbury to move to Victory Road to replace Ashlee Jones who left at then end of the last campaign. 

Ade Cole (returns to Grays Athletic), Gareth Heath (to Needham Market), Joe Francis, Niko Muir (returns to Hendon) and Ollie Brown have also departed. 

Heath aged 37, has been made Club Captain at The Marketmen, played 59 times for Leiston last season scoring fourteen goals in process. In total he played over 250 times for the club netting over 100 times.  

They start their pre-season campaign on Tuesday 11th July with a trip to Brantham Athletic. 

Lowestoft Town
In contrast to Leiston it's been more quieter on the transfer front for The Trawler Boys. They have lost the aforementioned Robert Eagle and Dominic Doherty to their near neighbours along with Ryan Jarvis and Frazer Blake-Tracey who both join Kings Lynn Town. Jake Jessup and Jamie Forshaw also depart Crown Meadow. 

Goalkeepers Ben Dudzinski (whom has joined from Hartlepool United) and Elvijs Putnans (formerly of Woking, Harrow Borough and Maidenhead United whom was with Great Yarmouth Town last season) to compete for the number one jersey vacated by Jessup. Putnans returns for his second spell with the club. 

Tickets are on sale for the club's prestigious friendly and Micky Chapman's testimonial with Norwich City scheduled for Saturday 8th July. The Canaries are set to field their first team squad in the game which will be their new Head Coach's first foray into English football. German Daniel Farke has joined Carrow Road after coaching with Borussia Dortmund II for the last two seasons.   

Waveney, Kirkley and Pakefield, Southend United, Kings Lynn Town, Gorleston and Braintree Town are also opponents in their pre-season campaign. 

For fans of The Gate the last few years have been more of a roller-coaster than the ones at the town's famous Dreamland amusement park. Bob Laslett took over the club in 2013 with huge investment (reportedly over £2,000,000) in the club with experienced boss Terry Brown taking the club from the Isthmian League to the Vanarama South in 2015. Brown was sacked in December 2015 after a poor start to the 2015/16 campaign to be replaced by Nikki Bull with Laslett departing in early 2016. They were relegated from the Vanarama South after a struggling for the whole of last season. 

Experienced Steve Watt, 32, is the man in charge for this season. Born in Aberdeen he has played for a number of clubs both North and South including Ross County and Maidstone United. He has signed a two year deal to be assisted by Steve Brown. 

Brown and Watt have made a host of impressive signings - Defender Tom Wynter (from Vanarama South Dartford) has joined along with Liam Friend (also a defender) from Folkestone Invicta. Attacking winger David Martin (from Vanarama National side Bromley) has also signed up along with another winger in Vas Karagiannis who played some games on loan from Maidstone United last season. Ex Chelsea and Millwall keeper Lenny Pidgeley has joined from Division One (South) side Hastings United with perhaps their biggest signing being Alex Flisher whom the club have had an undisclosed transfer fee accepted from Maidstone United. The 25 year old midfielder has made over 250 appearances for The Stones assisting them in promotion from Division One (South) to non-league's top division. 

The biggest change at Hartsdown Park over the summer is the playing surface which will be 3G for the new season. 

The Gate make the short trip to Deal Town on Saturday 8th July in the first of their pre-season games. 


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