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Goalkeepers Jordan Perrin and Tom Benham and defender Lex Allan are among the players staying at Sittingbourne

Darren Blackburn has urged his Sittingbourne players to be 'competitive in every game' when they begin their assault on Isthmian South East next season, writes Joe Harbert

The Brickies boss, who took charge of the club in March following the departure of Chris Lynch and is still yet to oversee his side in action due to coronavirus, is focussing on increasing the unity at Woodstock Park.

Sittingbourne manager Darren Blackburn Picture: Steve Crispe
Sittingbourne manager Darren Blackburn Picture: Steve Crispe

And when asked about his personnel for the season ahead, Blackburn replied: "We've retained our two goalkeepers of Jordan Perrin and Tom Benham, and defender Lex Allan is definitely staying as well.

"We've also announced the additions of forwards Harry Goodyear and Ryan Palmer, who are both experienced lads with good game management and know how to win football matches.

"We're also in the process of adding Dan Stubbs as well who has played for Margate and Hythe, and he will bring a lot of qualities too.

"Ultimately, I wanted to add a little bit more experience and creativity to the squad, but we still need to bring in the right characters for Sittingbourne Football Club.

"It's no good me adding certain types of players and trying to play a way that doesn't complement their styles, otherwise there's no understanding from front to back.

"So my first job has been to retain the lads that I wanted from last season and there aren't many moving on, which is good news, because our goal for next season is to be competitive in every game and find a way of playing that suits us."

Lex Allan is staying with the Brickies Picture: John Westhrop
Lex Allan is staying with the Brickies Picture: John Westhrop

However, with a 16th place finish in each of the last two seasons, the former Hollands & Blair manager says it will not be an easy task to achieve, especially with sides around them improving all the time.

Blackburn added: "Our main issue last season was scoring goals. We were a bit naive in areas and conceded some late goals, but we had quite a young side, so we turned victories into draws and draws into defeats off our own accord.

"At times we were also guilty of not having enough cohesion and we probably used too many players. In an ideal world you want to minimise the amount of changes each week you make.

"I also think it will be a really competitive league next season. Teams near the bottom like Ramsgate have improved massively, so whilst it is going to be another tough year, we've got a squad here that certainly isn't short of confidence."

He continued: "We've made a few changes behind the scenes as well with the structure of the club that will benefit us in the long-term.

"Things like reseeding and improving the drainage of the pitch are important because ultimately we've got to be a sustainable football club on and off the field.

"We've also got some reliable sponsorship in place and a respectable budget has been set for the season ahead, so that's testament to the guys behind the scenes."

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