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Deal Town head coach Steve King says it has been easier than ever to attract players to join the club - but won't rush to make signings


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Head coach Steve King says it has been easier than ever to attract players to join Deal - but that doesn’t mean they’ll be rushing to make any signings.

The Hoops have retained 16 of their squad for the 2022/23 Southern Counties East Premier Division campaign, although some have moved on.

Ex-Folkestone, Hythe and Gillingham goalkeeper Henry Newcombe has signed for Deal. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ex-Folkestone, Hythe and Gillingham goalkeeper Henry Newcombe has signed for Deal. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Winger Troy Howard, 20, has left for Isthmian Premier outfit Margate. Others departing are goalkeeper James Tonkin, Jack Paxman, Sammy Gibson and Sam Wilson.

But Deal moved quickly to replace Tonkin, bringing in Henry Newcombe from Hythe.

“Having been at the club for seven years, and trying to recruit for seven summers, this has been the easiest,” said King, who led Deal to a fourth-placed finish alongside manager Derek Hares.

“People view the club a little bit differently now with the crowds we’re getting and, with the players we have retained, we have shown we could be successful again.

“But we are not the sort of club that brings anyone and everyone in. We will bring the right ones in if we can get it done.

Henry Newcombe comes in to replace keeper James Tonkin who has left. Picture: Alan Langley
Henry Newcombe comes in to replace keeper James Tonkin who has left. Picture: Alan Langley

“We will be patient as well. There might be players at higher-league clubs not getting the minutes they want and they may become available.

“If the right players become available, like Henry, we will try and act as quickly as we can.

“It’s important we get the right characters. We are a very close-knit group, we need players that are coming in to buy into that.

“But certainly, we will be hopeful of strengthening.”

Jack Paxman has left Deal as well. Picture: Alan Langley
Jack Paxman has left Deal as well. Picture: Alan Langley

Tonkin had played a vital role for the Hoops in recent years but Newcombe, playing for his hometown club, seems a good replacement.

King, who didn’t rule out Paxman rejoining the club if his work situation changes, explained: “We were aware that this was a possibility with James potentially leaving about two months before the end of the season.

“I have known Henry a long time, he actually played here on loan from Gillingham. We didn’t know what was happening at Hythe.

“Henry enjoyed it under Rodgo but he [player-boss James Rogers] left and we had a chat and it went quite quickly from there. It was a bit of a blow to lose James but we are happy to have brought Henry in.”

Deal have also confirmed their pre-season schedule.

They will host two Football League clubs with games against a Charlton under-23s team on July 2 and a Gillingham XI on July 5.

Deal will also host Dover on July 12, New Romney (July 19) and Sevenoaks (July 23), with away matches at Lydd (July 9) and Corinthian (July 16) making up the rest of their schedule.

King said: “We are very thankful to Charlton and Gillingham for bringing sides down to play us - and Dover is always a big game for us. A lot of people watch both clubs.

“It’s a great challenge for the boys but it also helps to develop relationships with clubs.”

The club will be holding open trials which are likely to be held on June 23.

To register, fill out this form here before Sunday, June 5.

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