East Preston add four for Premier Division return

Summer recruit Ryan Quirke looks to offload the ball during Saturday's friendly with Southall United. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Summer recruit Ryan Quirke looks to offload the ball during Saturday's friendly with Southall United. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Bob Paine has bolstered his East Preston Football Club squad this summer ahead of their return to the Southern Combination League Premier Division.

EP were promoted from SCFL Division 1 last term and Paine has moved to add depth to his squad.

Matt Searle, Ryan Quirke, Jake Heryet and Nathan Da Costa have all decided to join Paine at The Lashmar.

Quirke is a player EP boss Paine knows well, having managed him for Worthing’s under-21 team. The talented midfielder also made a handful of appearances for Worthing’s first team, before he took a year away from the game last season.

Central midfielder Searle has joined from SCFL Division 1 outfit Storrington, while Heryet comes from Worthing’s under-18 team

EP manager Paine believes those additions will add to the squad he already has and said: “We’ve been very selective over the summer with what players we were after. The guys that came in had to improve on what was an already very good squad.

“I’m happy with the great additions we’ve managed to add to the squad.

“Ryan is a player I know well from my Worthing under-21 days. He can score or create a goal from nothing and is a great addition.

“Matt is a combative midfielder who will offer some much-needed physical strength.

“Jake is an lively 18-year-old winger who will offer us something as well. He was involved with Worthing’s first team last season and will be another good addition.

“Nathan (Da Costa) is an experienced defender who I’ve been talking to all summer.

“He will add much-needed experience to what is a young squad, particularly on the pitch. Nathan has been with Arundel for a number of seasons but I’m delighted to have signed him.”

All of last season’s squad have remained at the club, which Paine believes is hugely important, especially as two players had offers to join other teams.

Keeping everyone on board has been a huge boost for Paine, who added: “I think everyone staying is testament as to how much they enjoyed last season both on and off the pitch.

“Other clubs with bigger budgets tried to tempt a couple of my squad away but I’m pleased they’ve decided to stay.”

East Preston have played five matches this pre-season, recording wins over Shoreham, Wick, Southall United and AFC Varndeanians.

Paine had his players back early in preparation for the new season and feels they are now reaping the rewards.

He said: “We started pre-season a lot earlier than a lot of clubs and I think it has shown in our fitness levels throughout pre-season.

“Managers tend to say results don’t matter in friendly games but I don’t buy that. Winning is a habit, which breeds confidence and that is what I want here.”

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