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Hythe Town manager Steve Watt has built from the back after summer rebuild

Hythe Town return to action on Saturday with a handful of places still up for grabs in Steve Watt’s squad.

The Cannons manager has been pleased with his summer rebuild so far as he prepares to face Southern Counties East Kennington in their first pre-season match.

“I am really happy with the business we have done and maybe we are just two or three away from what I want,” said Watt.

“But that is what pre-season is about, putting some people in to look at and make a decision on those during and after the games we play and see what we are left with when the season starts.”

It’s been quite a big turnaround at Reachfields this summer.

“The team finished just outside of the relegation places last year so there had to be changes to make us stronger and to be able to compete in a difficult league,” Watt said.

“I have made the necessary changes that I felt needed making, so far, and there might be more to come. We will just have to see over pre-season, see what works and what we lack and try and add in those areas.”

A wide-man, a forward and possibly a central midfielder are areas that might need strengthening but Watt is certainly happy with the work they have done at the back. It was a key area to improve after Hythe finished the Isthmian South East campaign with the third-worst defensive record.

Watt said: “The defence needed looking at and obviously scoring as well, hence why we brought in Johan Caney-Bryan from Sittingbourne, Josh Stirman and also Frannie Collin coming back. We have brought in goals but we are still looking in that area.

“We made sure the defence was sorted first and that’s why we brought in the likes of Jack Steventon, Marcus Goldsmith and Lex Allan, players that will strengthen us in that area.

“The way I have built teams in the past, I always build them from the back, from a defensive standpoint to be able to be difficult to beat. That won’t change.”

Hythe have been back training since June 18 and other than a few niggles are in good shape for what their manager is hoping will be a competitive game against Dan Scorer’s Kennington.

He said: “You don’t win anything in pre-season, it’s more for players and looking at combinations and systems and seeing what suits us. I have signed a squad for a certain way and we will work on that but things can change.

“Training has been good, the standard and tempo has been fantastic and the effort, but there is nothing like games. It will be good to get back to it at Kennington. Dan has done a great job with them and it will be a good game to kick off - it should be a tough game, which is what I want. We need to challenge the players and I am looking forward to it.”

Hythe have scheduled in a midweek match against Potters Bar after Maidstone United under-23s pulled out of a friendly on Tuesday night.

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