Deal Town boss Derek Hares: We finished last season strongly and although the League will be very strong again this year we will be looking to improve by being consistent in terms of our results

Wednesday 05th July 2017

DEAL TOWN boss Derek Hares is feeling excited by the prospect of welcoming relegated Margate to The Charles Sports Ground on Saturday.

Deal Town finished their Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign in thirteenth-place, while Margate are preparing for life back in the Bostik Premier after finishing rock bottom of the Vanarama National League South last season, with seven wins and four draws from their 42 outings.

Margate have made a number of impressive summer signings and will be looking to bounce back at the first attempt under manager Steven Watt.

“It has been a busy few months behind the scenes but we are raring to go for  the start of our pre-season fixtures on Saturday,” Hares told

“We have been back training for a couple of weeks and we have been delighted with the application and attitude of the players so far.

“We have a very tough start to pre-season with games against both Margate and Dover Athletic (11 July), but everybody is looking forward to welcoming both clubs and thank them for coming to The Charles Ground as part of their pre-season programme.”

Deal Town have retained Dean Hill, James Tonkin, Luke Bigginton, Lee Scott, Steve O’Brien, Liam Hark, Charlie Walsh, Connor Coyne, Andy Miller, Joe Anderson, Dan Adams, Ryan Phillpott, Danny Smith and Kristin Gregory.

Hares added: “We are pleased to announce that we have retained the vast majority of the squad that finished last season strongly.

“Jack Paxman’s dual-registration has ended so he has returned to Ramsgate but all of the other players who were part of the squad at the end of the season have agreed to stay for this season.

“Dean Hill will be staying on as club captain and all of the young players who did well last season will again be continuing their development with us.

“All of the other players who were with us have agreed terms but have yet to sign forms as they have been away on holiday since the forms were released.  We will announce these when the formalities have been completed.

“We have also welcomed a number of talented trialists and you will see a number of these during the pre-season games.

“Once any of these players have signed for the season we will keep everyone updated.

“We have been talking to a number of players with experience of playing at a higher level and will be looking to add players to the  squad that will improve us as a group.

“We always make sure, however, that they are the right sort of character and will not rush out and sign the first player that becomes available.”

When asked about Deal Town’s aspirations for the season ahead, Hares revealed: “We finished last season strongly and although the League will be very strong again this year we will be looking to improve by being consistent in terms of our results.

“All the boys are excited about The FA Cup and FA Vase Draws on Friday and we will be aiming to have a good run in both competitions.”

But the club will be boosted by the visit of Margate and Vanarama National League neighbours Dover Athletic at the start of their pre-season campaign.

“We hope as many people will be at the Charles Ground on both Saturday and Tuesday to watch two very exciting games for the club,” added Hares.

Margate boss Watt, meanwhile, will head into their opening warm-up game with one week’s training under their belts.

With signings like Lenny Pidgeley, Alex Flisher, Tom Mills and Liam Friend already joining up with James Rogers, Ben Swift, Jack Evans and Chris Sessegnon from last season, Watt is keen to learn about his new players during the Kent coast derby on Saturday.

“It is another training session but in a match environment,” Watt told

“It is another learning our shape and the way we want to play throughout the season.”

Meanwhile, Margate director Robert Marriott will return to the club where he was chairman up until December 2016.

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Deal Town  v  Margate
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 8 July 2017
Kick Off 1:00pm
at The Charles Sports Ground, St Leonards Road, Deal, Kent CT14 9AU