Published: 05:00, 09 June 2022
New arrival Harry Hudson has been backed to help fill the void left by the departure of Ben Swift by Margate manager Andy Drury.
Hudson, 21, was one of two players to join Gate last week with midfielder Kieron McCann also signing for the Hartsdown Park outfit.
Departing skipper Swift captained Margate in the 2021/22 season but has left for higher-league football this summer, following boss Jay Saunders to Tonbridge for their National League South campaign.
Swift, 25, enjoyed a productive five-year stay at the club and he leaves a big hole at the back for Margate but Drury is tipping in-demand Hudson to help replace the former Aston Villa man.
“For us, I think it was really important to replace Swifty,” Drury said. “I think they are similar sorts of players. They are both good ages.
“He had five or six other offers, so we had to be a bit patient.
“But he has decided to come to our project which shows people believe in what I’m trying to do.”
Margate have already been busy this summer, also bringing in defender Taylor Fisher, winger Troy Howard and striker Emmanuel Oluwasemo while attacking midfielder Ben Greenhalgh has agreed to stay, as he replaces Swift as the club’s captain.
Drury revealed: “We have 10 signed on and we have a couple from the under-23s that I want to have a look at.
“We are probably five or six away from a full squad. But it’s important to be patient and get the right ones in, like we did with Kieron and Harry.
“There’s quite a lot of money at our level - and the level below. Harry was offered more money [to join a club] the league below.
“But the ones who decided to come to us believe in what we are doing.”
Drury has also signed 30-year-old McCann - a player he knows well. McCann featured alongside Drury at Folkestone last season.
The Gate boss added: “Obviously, I played with him last year. He was another who had five or six clubs in for him.
“He knows how I want to play football.
"He is an experienced player but still a relatively young player and is trying to help us push the club on.”
But leaving the club are player-coach Reece Prestedge - who Drury says wants to play closer to home - and defender Crossley Lema.
“Both have gone, that was their decision really,” Drury explained.
“We wish them all the best but we will continue trying to make the squad stronger now.”