Wednesday 29th June 2005

Ward raring to go



Ramsgate's Scottish manager, Jim Ward, cannot wait to report back to pre-season training as the Thanet side prepare for their debut in the Ryman League first division, writes Stephen McCartney.

Ward is giving everyone of his Kent League double winning squad a chance to compete at the higher level - but he's on the look out to increase his squad's numbers as the team will be playing a lot more fixtures this season.

He told the club's website: "Last year's squad of 16 has now been extended and all the players from last year, and I don't say this lightly, but all the players are invited back this year.

"They are the ones who have got the shirts, they are the ones who started the matches last season, and they are the ones who were given the opportunity to prove they wanted to play in the Ryman League."

Their is an air of excitement coming from Southwood Stadium, with Ward making four summer signings.

"Everyone knew that the squad had to be strengthened," he admitted.

"I have done that with what I consider four quality signings."

Michael Yianni, who is a quality Kent League player, at midfield or full back has signed from Hythe Town.

Steffan Ball - who finished the campaign at Greenwich Borough - has signed from Ryman League division one rivals, Dulwich Hamlet.

Ball is an out-an-out big centre forward, standing well over 6ft tall, and has scored a lot of goals at this level, playing for Tonbridge Angels, Horsham and Bromley.

Another striker, Richard Sinden, is well known to Kent supporters, and the former Maidstone United hit-man has been captured from last season's Kent League runners-up, Herne Bay.

Ward's fourth signing is defender, Dean Hill, who has signed from Southern Leaguers, Sittingbourne.

"They are the four players that I have signed and they will all sign contracts with the club," revealed Ward.

"There have been extensions to contracts for other players but Richard Lawson (chairman), Martin Able (secretary) and myself just have not had enough time to get around to everybody, but all the lads who were on contract last year will be spoken to before the end of June and the pre-season training."

Ward added there are a few other well-known players, who are expecting to attend pre-season training.

"That will give us another six in our squad," added Ward.

"We've lost Mo Takaloo to Maidstone, so that will leave us with a squad of 20 or 21.

"Obviously some of our squad will filter away due to natural wastage, but nevertheless they are all invited to pre-season training.

"That is the strength of squad I think we will need this year."

Ward will be relying on his tried and tested management team of brother Danny - who will get the squad organised - and Mark Harrop - who will get the players fully fit and raring to go.

Meanwhile, Ramsgate are looking for pre-season friendlies at Southwood Stadium on 16th and 30th July (3pm).

Please telephone Jim Ward on 07971 563 593.

Ramsgate boss Jim Ward
is looking forward to the
new season