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Chris Lewington, Gavin Hoyte, Ibby Akanbi, Ibrahim Olutade, Jake Embery, Saidou Khan and Sam Corne all agree deals with Maidstone United for a new season

Maidstone United have started to assemble their squad for a new season.

Chris Lewington and Gavin Hoyte have both agreed deals for the 2020/21 National League South season - whenever that may be.

Gavin Hoyte in action against Chippenham last season Picture: Steve Terrell
Gavin Hoyte in action against Chippenham last season Picture: Steve Terrell

The Stones will be working on a reduced budget next season but they have managed to agree terms with goalkeeper Lewington and defender Hoyte for another year.

Maidstone say they are two of seven who has signed or have agreed deals for 2020/21.

Strikers Ibby Akanbi, Ibrahim Olutade and Jake Embery, along with midfielders Saidou Khan and Sam Corne, make up the seven.

Popular right-back Hoyte, last season's vice captain, made 41 appearances after joining from Dagenham & Redbridge a year ago.

He started his career at Arsenal before making permanent moves to Dagenham twice, a season with the Gills, Barnet and Eastleigh.

Lewington combines his playing role at the club with coaching and he has made 28 appearances to far. The 31-year-old joined in February 2019 after previously playing for Dover, Welling and Margate.

Club chief exec Bill Williams said: “Chris and Gavin were key players for us last season and the owners were keen to retain their services.

“I am sure supporters will be delighted to see these two back, just as much as I am delighted to be announcing some football news at last.

“We’re still talking to a couple of last season’s squad and have a target list of players we’d like to bring in. Hopefully, we’ll have some more news in the very near future.”

Co-owner Terry Casey said: “One of the first decisions we have made is regarding the playing budget for the 20/21 season because our retention and recruitment will not progress unless we have a financial framework to work with.

“We have contacted players we feel could be right for the team, initially to establish their thoughts about whether they would prefer to train three mornings or two evenings a week.

“Our findings were clear in that the majority of the players we spoke to wanted to train three mornings.

“There was no evidence that this would force the playing budget upwards but it was evident that the players we wanted were ambitious and wanted to make football their main source of income.

“For Maidstone United to continue this training regime is a major statement of our intention to get back to the National League. Whilst our three seasons were difficult, we learned a lot and will not make the same mistakes.

“The playing budget will be less than last season but because of the uncertainty around crowd numbers and start dates, we will try to be flexible and keep some funds in reserve.

“We are keen to avoid signing the journeyman players who drift from club to club without really committing to Maidstone United, so our campaign will concentrate on more local players.

“There are a substantial number of players that are of interest to us but making sure we make good signings has never been more important.”

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