A team-bonding trip up north could be one of the most important weekends in Tonbridge’s pre-season.
Angels, who started training on Tuesday night, are off to Leeds to take on National North club Farsley Celtic on July 16.
The fixture has been arranged through club director Sophie Purves and represents the perfect opportunity for new boss Jay Saunders and his squad to get to know each other.
A number of last season’s players remain at Longmead, with Saunders striking new deals with the likes of Jonny Henly, Sonny Miles, Jamie Fielding, Joe Turner and Doug Loft.
But there will be plenty of new faces, with confirmed summer signings including Ben Swift, Lewis Gard, Mason Saunders-Henry and Tommie Fagg.
“We’ve kept six or seven, otherwise it’s a completely new group coming in,” said Saunders.
“It’s nice that we’ve kept the defensive line, and added Swifty, so the core is there, and then we’ve got Joe Turner and Doug Loft in midfield, but everyone else is new, so there’ll be a bit of gelling to do.
“We’ve got the game in Leeds, against Farsley Celtic, coming up, we’ll have an overnight stay and a team-bonding thing after the game, which will be good for them.
“In general, I always try and do plenty of work on people’s character, so you’ve got a good group who get on well.
“It’ll be good to get away, things like that are important, especially when you’ve got a new group.
“It will be a good test as well, against a decent side.”
Time has flown since Saunders succeeded Steve McKimm at Tonbridge last month.
They’re training at a local school while work continues on the 3G pitch at Longmead, with Saunders taking the opportunity to look at several trialists.
He remains in talks with other targets but knows patience is key.
“Pre-season seems to have come round so quick,” said Saunders.
“It’s nice to meet the players properly and start work with them.
“I know the areas we’re looking to strengthen, we’re probably looking at three positions at the moment.
“I’ve got the nucleus of what I wanted, it’s just adding those individual ones.
“If you miss out on one, you move on to the next target.
“We need to get the right ones. I’ve always been the same, I won’t panic and sign someone for the sake of it.
“I’ll get the ones I think are best-suited for us and will help us progress. If that means waiting a week or so more, so be it.
“There’s still a long way to go before the season starts and we can get the work done that we need to with the boys we’ve got.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to announce something this week.
“It’s funny, as well, because the last couple of days the phone has been ringing like mad where players have been holding out and all of a sudden they realise pre-season is starting and they start to panic because they haven’t got a club.”