Young squad is starting to take shape at East Preston

East Preston Football Club boss Bob Paine (far left) is looking forward to their first pre-season friendly with Littlehampton on Saturday
East Preston Football Club boss Bob Paine (far left) is looking forward to their first pre-season friendly with Littlehampton on Saturday

East Preston Football Club boss Bob Paine is starting to build his squad as the new campaign draws closer.

Paine, who left Worthing under-21s earlier in the summer, became EP manager following Paul Ettridge’s departure.

It’s been a busy time for the new boss with transfer rules meaning Paine can now add new additions to his squad.

And Paine has wasted little time by adding four promising young talents to his squad ahead of their upcoming Southern Combination League Division 1 campaign.

The quartet of Jared Rance, Jack Barnes, Lukas Franzen-Jones and Matt Smith have all agreed to join.

Both Rance and Barnes played for Paine at Worthing last season, while Franzen-Jones and Smith were at Burgess Hill’s under-21 team last season.

As well as his former Rebels pair, Paine says he hopes to have the vast majority of his Rebels team from last term join him.

He said: “It’s great to be able to add the four we have. Jared scored 32 goals for me at Worthing last season and he is a great talent.

“A few clubs were interested in him but I’m delighted he’s decided to join us.

“Both he and Jack 
(Barnes) have made first-team appearances for Worthing and are talented players.

“It’s a similar story with getting both Lukas and Matt in.

“They are good young talents, who I hope will both do well here.”

Paine revealed he had been working his team hard as the new season approaches.

EP have been training three times a week for the past since returning for pre-season two weeks back.

Paine is really pleased at how things have gone since getting back into it.

EP’s first friendly comes on Saturday when they welcome rivals Littlehampton Town to The Lashmar and it’s one Paine is looking forward to.

He added: “It’s going to be nice to give the players some playing time.

“I think I’m planning to play two separate teams in each half, that will give me a good chance to look at the players.

“Hopefully, with it being a derby game, we’ll be able to get a few people in and it should be an entertaining game.”

As well as several of his Worthing team from last year joining, Paine also expects the vast majority of Ettridge’s team to sign for him.

He said: “We’ve had several of East Preston’s team from last year training with us.

“In each session so far we’ve had around 40 players involved which has been great. A lot of the team here from last season have come back and it just shows their loyalty to this team.

“It’s great to have so many players to choose from, especially with the under-21’s team up and running now that’s going to provide a pathway for younger players at this club.”

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