Sheppey United boss Ernie Batten signs Tom Brunt from Sittingbourne: We are trying to build a squad to push on

Monday 26th June 2017

SHEPPEY UNITED boss Ernie Batten has signed former Sittingbourne captain Tom Brunt.

The 24-year-old turned professional in 2011 at Gillingham before dropping into the non-league game where he played for Ashford United, Folkestone Invicta and Sittingbourne.

“Tom brings us some versatility as he is predominately a midfield player but can also play full-back,” Batten told

“Again, we have brought in another young player who has bundles of experience and will be a real asset to us.

“Tom has had a lot of interest from club’s in Kent, who are playing a higher level but he can see what we are creating. We should all be proud of our club as players want to play here.”

Batten has brought in goalkeeper Jordan Carey (Cray Valley), midfielder Hicham Akahazzan (who has scored 100 goals for Sittingbourne) and Brunt, who drops down a division from Bostik South.

“We have a few more players to talk to and a couple of other key men in our sights, so it’s looking to be another good season for us,” added Batten.

“We are trying to build a squad to push on and that means expanding on our very young team with some experienced players.

“It’s all about balance and building the team the right way at the right time.

“Our fans are the best in our League by far and probably up there with the best in Kent.  I’m as passionate as they are for us to do well but I have to keep a calm head to bring the rewards they deserve but what I do know is that if they can keep getting behind the lads both home and away with their vocal support then who knows where it will take us. It makes so much difference.”

With the exception of Danny Walder, who has signed for Bostik South side Faversham Town and Karn Miller-Neave and Joe Denny, who have returned to newly-promoted Vanarama National League side Ebbsfleet United, Batten revealed everyone else is staying put at Holm Park.

He said: “At present we will have everyone reporting back for pre-season training. Until we all meet up in a couple of weeks its business as usual.

“John Ralph will be a welcome return after his injury last season and I am waiting on the outcome of a couple of other players too from lengthy lay-offs.”

The Ites begin their pre-season campaign with a trip to newly-promoted Southern Counties East Football League First Division side Punjab United on 8 July.  The Gravesend-based side clinched the Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Premier Division title at the first attempt last season.

“The pre-season fixtures will be a good test and a good chance for us to evaluate things.  The teams we are playing all offer different challenges,” said Batten. 

“I am looking forward to the Sittingbourne game (at Holm Park on 29 July) and I’m hoping that’s when our fans do the club proud – be vocal, sing but enjoy the game the right way.”

Sheppey United finished their Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign in sixth-place last season and lost to Sevenoaks Town in the Macron SCEFL Challenge Cup Final.

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