Margate boss Andy Drury says he’s “pretty much there” with his squad after James Bessey-Saldanha signed a new deal.
Bessey-Saldanha impressed in his debut campaign at Hartsdown Park after joining from Bearsted.
At home out wide or through the middle, the forward made the transition from Southern Counties East to Isthmian Premier football and new manager Drury, whose side beat Dover 2-0 in their latest friendly on Saturday, is delighted to keep him on board.
Margate don’t start the league season until August 13 - Kingstonian the visitors to Hartsdown Park - but Drury’s business is all-but-done.
“We got James done over the weekend, he’s a good addition, and we’re pretty much there, squad-wise,” said Drury.
“There might be one or two things happening over the next week or two, depending on a couple of situations, but it’s nice to get the squad done with two or three weeks to go.
“Everyone’s playing well, there’s a good spirit about the boys, from the first session they’ve bought in to what we’re trying to do.
“It’s only pre-season but we’re winning games of football, the boys want to win games and there’s a lot of leaders in the dressing room.
“There was quite a bit of work to do when I came in, with recruitment and stuff, but I’m happy with the balance and the quality in the squad.”
Troy Howard scored a lovely opener, with a trialist also on target as Margate, who beat Faversham 3-1 last Tuesday, made it three straight friendly wins with victory over Dover.
They take on a Fulham XI at Hartsdown Park tonight (Wednesday), followed by the return of former Gate boss Jay Saunders, who brings his Tonbridge team to town on Saturday.
Drury said: “Fulham’s first team are on tour, so I’d imagine it will be the under-23s, but they’ll still be a decent side and it’ll be nice for our fans to have a look at them and they might see one or two who end up in the first team in a couple of years.
“The Tonbridge game will be another good yardstick of where we are.
“You’d think Jay coming back might put a few more on the gate but it depends, because it’s the summer holidays and people might start going away.
“But we’ve had decent crowds during pre-season, the fans are enjoying what we’re trying to do. You don’t win anything in pre-season but it’s all looking good at the moment.”