Sam Denly has hailed the capture of midfielder Darren Smith as a major coup.
The Herne Bay boss has agreed terms with the experienced campaigner who will sign on his return from holiday.
Denly has beaten off two other Kent sides to bring Smith to Winch’s Field and said: “A lot of clubs were chasing him and he is a good signing. He is the ideal player to bring in and help our talented youngsters.”
Smith left Folkestone Invicta after playing 11 games at the start of last season – his third spell at the club – to concentrate on his work and family.
Bad news for Denly is that Ben Brown has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury.
Young goalkeeper Brad Cummings has joined from Maidstone as understudy to Jack Delo, after teenager Ben Kitcherside’s move to Whitstable.
Denly will have the chance of an early look at Cummings when Bay start their pre-season friendlies at home to Division 1 North side Tilbury on Saturday. He replaces Delo who is on honeymoon.
Two other former under-18s, England schoolboy international Elliot Cutts and Kane Butler, have made the step-up from youth football. Denly plans to use four or five trialists against Tilbury, admitting: ”I haven’t got many spots available but never turn anybody away because you might just miss out on somebody.”