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Tonbridge Angels manager Steve McKimm is eager for his team to keep progressing during their second successive season in National League South

By Joe Harbert

Steve McKimm wants Tonbridge Angels to keep progressing in their second consecutive year in National League South as they prepare for their 2020/21 season.

The Angels boss admits his side's summer dealings mean "exciting times" are now on the horizon for the Kent side who are expected to start the new campaign on October 3.

Tonbridge manager Steve McKimm. Picture: David Couldridge
Tonbridge manager Steve McKimm. Picture: David Couldridge

Tonbridge have already confirmed 13 of last season's squad are staying under McKimm again this term, including the likes of Joe Turner and Rian Bray, with Kristian Campbell and Alex Akrofi also arriving at the club from Eastbourne Borough and Aveley respectively.

“I’m very pleased we’ve managed to keep the majority of players from last season and the additions we’ve brought in have been great," said McKimm who will be beginning his seventh season in charge at Tonbridge.

“I’ve liked Kristian for a while, and he’s come in and shown a good appetite in the couple of training sessions we’ve had. So he’ll be a great addition to our squad.

“We’ve also got two players in Tom Beere and Tom Parkinson who were out for a full season, and that means it’s really exciting times at the club, albeit in a hard situation.

“Bringing Alex Akrofi back as well is something I’ve tried to do two or three times since he left us, but for one reason or another it hasn’t gone through.

Former Maidstone man Alex Akrofi has signed for the Angels this summer. Picture: Martin Apps
Former Maidstone man Alex Akrofi has signed for the Angels this summer. Picture: Martin Apps

"But now, it has and he's a great player to have alongside everyone else who is staying.

“We’ve got a lot of players covering positions, so at the moment business is done - we’ll go through pre-season to see if anything else catches our eye and then take it from there, but even so, we’ve covered a lot of bases with the squad we’ve built.

“But of course football changes like the wind, and that's why I always get my stuff done early to get things settled so I know what I’m working with and how we’re going to do it, and that’s what we’ve done again this year."

The former Sutton United man also believes the Angels' tough start to their 2019/20 campaign was a harsh reality which will, ultimately, allow them to rise up the table this time around.

"We deserve to be in this league with all the work that’s put in by everyone but we’re looking to do better than last year and not struggle, and I believe we can," the 44-year-old explained.

“We learnt some hard lessons at the start of last season with how clinical teams can be at this level if you make mistakes.

“But during the second-half of the year, from that learning curve, we went on a tremendous run and that shows the boys have learnt from their experiences.

"And, like anything in life, we all want to better ourselves from what we’ve done previously.

“Teams like Dorking Wanderers and Dartford got in the play-offs and were down near us at one point, so it just shows that if you have a good run of games, momentum can take you a long way.

“Only time will tell when the season kicks off which teams have got what squads and who are favourites for promotion and relegation - our goals will be different from last year.

“Last season we were tipped to go down, but I always had faith in what I was doing, the players were doing and what the staff were doing that we wouldn’t, and in the end, we could have finished mid-table with the run we were on."

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