The chairman has told us to keep Sittingbourne in the Ryman League, says Nick Davis

Monday 07th July 2014
SITTINGBOURNE player-manager Nick Davis says he has been told to keep the club in the Ryman League at the end of the coming season.

The Brickies finished in fourteenth-place in the Division One South table last season with 61 points from 46 games.

The club work with a small budget and Davis – who runs the team jointly with Matt Wyatt – is searching for replacements for strikers Joe Taylor (27 goals) and Ryan Golding (20) who both left the club during the summer to sign for Conference South side Farnborough and Sittingbourne’s league rivals Whitstable Town respectively.

“It’s gone pretty well,” said Davis.

“We had a trial day a couple of weeks back now and we had a really good turn-out.

“It was over 60 people that came along, which was really pleasing actually, from all types of levels if I’m being honest.

“It’s difficult to see players in a couple of hours’ session but out of 61 we basically took 12 to come and join us in pre-season.

“We’ve had around about a good 30-34 mark at each session.

“We’ve got to replace some goals haven’t we from last year, obviously 47 goals are out of our team so it gives someone else an opportunity and there’s one or two there I seriously think could score goals.”

Davis revealed that he has signed striker Harry Smith, 19, who scored 22 goals for Sevenoaks Town last season.

“He’s six-foot five, he’s nineteen, quick as you like and he’s going to cause problems,” said Davis.

“Unfortunately he went over on his ankle Tuesday of last week but hopefully it’s nothing serious.

“He seems a good player.  To score as many goals as he did for a team that finished second-from-bottom in the Kent League (Southern Counties East Football League) speaks volumes.

“Only being 19 years of age, he’s a great signing and I think he’s going to cause problems.”

Sittingbourne fans can see Smith in action on Tuesday night when Conference Premier side Welling United visit Woodstock Park.

“It’s going to be really tough against Welling,” warned Davis.

“I’ve had a niggling injury myself for weeks. I’ve been doing a bit of training, but I damaged my right ankle second to last game.  I went to the hospital but nothing came up on the x-ray but unfortunately it’s the old troublesome ankle that I’ve had problems with before.

“I’ve not done a lot at all and I’ll be playing 45 minutes tomorrow against a Conference side so it’s an early night for me!

“Of course you look at the results and they’re important but the main thing is we’re half re-building a side, especially going forward so there will be opportunities for the four or five forwards that we’ve brought in.

“We’ll be playing two different sides from the first half and second, a mixture of last season’s squad and the players that we’ve brought in.

“We’re not going to give too much away of our starting eleven. We don’t actually know!  We have to see them in a game. It’s ok seeing people in training but you see the hard truth (playing games) on Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday.”

Sittingbourne will play nine warm-up games ahead of their opening League game on 9 August.

“We’ve got nine, tough ones and some teams from lower in the league. We’re going to test a new formation out. There’s a few areas and a few positions that are up for grabs,” said Davis.

“We’ve been really pleased with the players that we’ve got in. We’re going to go slightly different in the fact that we’re going to be solid as we can and hopefully score at the other end.”

Central defender Davis, 32, was asked whether he enjoys pre-season.

“I’ve never really overly enjoyed it, nothing compares to competitive games be it League or Cup.  It’s a mini-season within itself.  You always got an eye on the fact that you might pick up an injury, which will kill your preparation for the games that really mater – the league and the cup – it’s not really one for me.

“I’d rather get the games started straight away. It’s part and parcel of it. I’ve done about eighteen of these so another one ain’t going to kill me!”

Sittingbourne have been drawn at home to Dorking Wanderers or Southern Counties East Football League newcomers Crowborough Athletic in the Preliminary Round of The FA Cup on Saturday 30 August.

The winners will be at home to Canterbury City or Pagham or Woodstock Sports on 13 September.

“We’ve been dealt a really good blow in the FA Cup draw,” said Davis, who guided Sittingbourne to the Third Qualifying Round last season where they lost 4-1 away to Conference South side Staines Town.

“We’ve got to win the games – don’t get me wrong – but we’ve got potentially two home games against lower league opposition.

“I was doing my coaching badges a couple of weeks ago and the Crowborough manager was on there and we’ve said we bet we’ll pull each other out in the FA cup and if they beat Dorking Wanderers we’ve got them in FA Cup!

“We go into the season, the chairman said to us ‘keep us in this league’ and anything more than that is a plus.

“Matt and I are always a bit optimistic and we generally think it can go one way or another.  We can be in the top six or seven or we’ll be near the bottom, there’s no in-between for us.

“It’s going to be exciting that’s for sure.”

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Sittingbourne  v  Welling United
Pre-Season Friendly
Tuesday 8th July 2014
Kick Off 7:45pm
At Woodstock Park, Broadoak Road, Sittingbourne, Kent ME9 8AG