Published: 07:44, 10 August 2021
| Updated: 07:47, 10 August 2021
Matt Longhurst believes Jamie Coyle is just the man to help his young Ramsgate side this season.
Coyle, 38, left his role as assistant manager at Margate to join Thanet rivals Rams as a player.
The defender is set to be a key weapon for Longhurst, whose team start the Isthmian South East campaign at Three Bridges on Saturday.
“I just think we lacked that experience Coyley offers,” said boss Longhurst.
“We’re a very young side, we need two or three experienced players and he’s a perfect example of a senior player who will come in and help the younger ones.
“He’s got that coaching background, he’s managed in Conference South with Welling and Dartford, he’s played this level and above, and won things.He’ll be great around the place.”
Coyle joined Ramsgate just a couple of days after leading Margate to a 5-2 win at Southwood in the Thanet Cup.
Longhurst added: “I’ve known him for a while and I got a little heads up from someone that he might want to play again.
“Where he wasn’t a player over at Margate I was able to speak to him and I said, ‘If you decide to put the boots on, I’d definitely sign you, you’re perfect.’
“He said he was looking to play and then we had a conversation when we played Margate.
“He saw 1,800 fans in and he could see the change in the stadium and the pitch and he said it looked like Maidstone when he first went there with the fan base and the young people.
“It’s a project that interested him and he’s fit as a fiddle.”
Longhurst is still hopeful of strengthening his squad before the opening game.
Either way, fans will need to be patient with the number of youngsters involved.
Longhurst said: “Coyley and Lee Prescott are probably the only players over 27.
“Eighty per cent of the boys are 21 and under and we’ll probably go into the first game with at least five or six teenagers in the squad. People have got to be patient.
"We’ve got a way in which we want to play, obviously you adapt for teams you’re playing or the pitches you’re playing on, but we know what we want to do.
“We want to build this team over 18 months and with six or seven boys on contract, it gives us that stability. I’ve never been one for setting targets but after 10 games you can gauge where the league is at.
“So much has changed. You’ve got some clubs who have boxed clever in the pandemic, saved their money and are going for it this year, and you’ve got others who’ve been hit massively by Covid, so it’s difficult to determine.
“For me, if we start well, we’ll have to manage expectations where the players are so young.
“If we don’t start great, we’ll then have to make sure these young lads aren’t losing confidence because it’s a long season.
“At this level of non-league, you could beat a team 3-0 or lose 3-0 at the start of the season and then their budget’s cut and it’s a totally different team when you play them again.
“Because of that, it’s always very difficult to tell how a season will pan out. We’ve got a decent group of boys but it will take time with a new team.”