Published: 08:00, 03 July 2020
| Updated: 12:48, 03 July 2020
Steve Watt is delighted to have kept the majority of his squad together as they look to hit the ground running, writes Joe Harbert.
The Hythe boss has already seen more than a dozen players commit to the club for the new campaign, something that leaves the 35-year-old feeling buoyant ahead of his first full season in charge at Reachfields.
“The most important thing for me has been to try and retain what we had, and I’ve been able to keep a loyal bunch of players that are happy to stay and play for the football club,” Watt said.
“We had a lot of changes last year, and by the end of the season there were only three players that were part of the previous regime, so we had a complete clear out since I took over.
"But now I want to keep the core of the side and move from there, which is what we’ve done.
“Along with the names already announced, James Rogers has also committed to us as well for next year and that makes it 15 players from last season’s squad staying.
“We’ve let a few go like Danny Walder and Jimmy Coyle who has left for Margate, so there won’t be much change from before, but I think that’s a good thing because keeping our squad together is important if we want to hopefully hit the ground running.
“There’s a great atmosphere around the place, and when you’ve got the likes of Alex Flisher, Frannie Collin, Tom Wynter, Alex Brown, DJ Oldaker, Will Godmon and Charlie Webster, we’ve already got players here that are used to winning games of football.
“Keeping that mentality at the club is really important, rather than going out and bringing in lots of new players who I’ve never worked with before and who are not used to the way I work.”
Additionally, the club have also announced the signing of full-back Liam Smith from Tonbridge Angels. He had a spell on loan at Sevenoaks Town last season.
Despite their first bottom half finish since 2015, the Cannons lost just two of their last 14 league games last season, momentum Watt says they can take into their upcoming campaign.
He explained: “Maybe if we didn’t have such a positive finish to last year, I may have looked at making a lot of changes.
“You only need to look at our run towards the end of the season to see that once I got my squad assembled together, they did what I expected them to do which was not to lose games, but win them.
“We went from second-bottom to seventh place at one point, which was a great achievement with all the changes we had to make.
“In my eyes that was really positive, and barring three drawn games in the space of a week in February, we would have been higher than the 11th place we finished.
“But for this season, I’ll always have my set principles on how we play defensively without the ball, but I think going forward I’ll give them a bit more freedom to express themselves to score more goals, which is what we needed more of last season.”
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