LITTLEHAMPTON Football Club player-manager George Gaskin is hoping his side can defend their Southern Combination League title this season but knows it will not be easy.
Golds were crowned champions on a tense final day in April, in what was the last season of the Sussex County Football League. Little-hampton secured a 3-3 draw with Newhaven, while Dorking Wanderers fell to a 2-1 defeat at Arundel as the title went to the Sportsfield by a single point.
Gaskin lifted the title as a player but, this time around, he is hoping to claim it as a boss.
Following Golds’ title success, manager Mark Bennett resigned, along with assistant Richie Hellen.
Despite such a different role this time around, Gaskin said: “We will be going into every game looking to win this season. Obviously, last season was a great time for everyone involved with this club and we will be hoping to repeat that this season.
“A lot of teams have improved, so it will not be easy but our aim is to be champions once again. Each season, you have five teams that are tight at the top around Christmas.
“After that point, two teams usually begin to break away and fight it out for the league.
“It’s important that we make a good start and are in and around the top halfway through the season.”
Littlehampton will be without four of their title-winning side for the upcoming campaign.
Joe Shelley, Darren Boswell and Kieron Pamment all left for Horsham, while Dan Swain moved to Pagham.
Gaskin admitted losing the quartet will be a loss but he has been pleased with his summer recruitment. The Littlehampton boss added: “To lose four of last season’s squad was not ideal but I’m confident we have replaced them with good players.
“All four of them are good players and it’s a shame that they are not with us this season. However, I have been really happy with the players I have managed to bring in.
“Hopefully we can pick up a positive result in our first game and start the season well.”
Golds begin their title def-ence with a trip to Eastbourne United on Saturday.
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