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Manager Jay Saunders believes Maidstone United have a more powerful squad for the coming season

By Craig Tucker
Maidstone United players at their opening pre-season training session Picture: Steve Terrell

Maidstone have the players to handle the physical demands of a Ryman League, Premier Division promotion bid.

That was clear to manager Jay Saunders when the squad reported for pre-season training at the Gallagher Stadium on Tuesday night.

Stones were found wanting at times against powerful sides last year and Saunders took that into account when signing the likes of Sonny Miles, Jamie Coyle and James Rogers.

Saunders said: “We look a bigger side, more physical, with more know-how, which is pleasing.

“Wealdstone won the league so clearly last season because they had a physical side to them, as well as being able to play.

“The problem is we don’t play at our place every week, where the pitch is nice.You have to go to places like East Thurrock, where you need to battle.

“Most teams who win leagues at any level are big and powerful, hence why I’ve gone for people like Jay May, Coyley, Sonny and James Rogers. Matt Bodkin isn’t big but he’s a strong lad.

“You need the right blend and they have quality as well. If you’d said at the end of last season we’d be where we are now with the signings we’ve made, I’d have been happy.”

Twenty-six players – including academy youngsters and trialists – were eased into pre-season.

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