AFC Portchester manager Mick Catlin has been busy since the last season ended, securing the services of the players he hopes will net the club a long-awaited promotion from the Wessex League.
The Royals have been regular top six finishers in the Sydenhams Wessex League Premier Division but after a disappointing 13th place finish in 2018-19, the club are renewing their efforts to start climbing the non league pyramid system.
Catlin wasted no time during the close season to bolster the Portchester squad with new signings and to ensure key personnel from last season’s team remained at the Crest Finance Stadium.
News that captain Steve Ramsey is to remain with the Royals was the first of a string of signing announcements made by the club.
There were plenty of familiar faces on the training ground when the pre-season fitness work began for the Royals on July 1.
Defenders Craig Hardy, Josh Warren, Olly Searle and Stuart McConnachie, midfielders Adam Cripps and Jake Morgan, and forwards Joel Jackson, Mike Turvey and Brodie Spencer have all committed themselves to the club again for 2019-20.
Joe Noakes is another familiar face to Portchester followers and he was hoping to return to first team action following a lengthy lay off due to a serious knee injury. Unfortunately a broken leg sustained during the pre-season friendly against United Services Portsmouth means he faces several more months on the sidelines.
Supporters will also recognise forward Dan Wooden and defender Rob Evans - both players have returned to the Royals after spells with Southern League side Moneyfields last season.
Catlin also wasted no time in bringing in the new faces he believes will not only propel Portchester back up the table but turn them into serious promotion contenders.
His goalkeeper resources have been boosted by the signing of an experienced stopper and an up and coming young talent.
Brad Snelling won the Premier Division title with Blackfield and Langley and was on loan with Hamble Club last season. Youngster Josh Cotton has impressed during spells with AFC Totton, Winchester City and Eastleigh.
Nick Jordan, the former Portsmouth and Crawley Town keeper, was signed at the beginning of pre-season but he has now left the club.
More Southern League experience has been added at the attacking end of the pitch with the capture of Nathan Paxton’s signature, who arrives from Moneyfields.
Striker James Thomson has also signed for the Royals. He can count Gosport Borough, Sholing and Hamble Club among his former clubs and he was top scorer at Wessex Premier Division side Brockenhurst last season.
More experience and youth has been added to the defensive ranks. Bradey Norton was with Wessex Premier Division winners Sholing last season and has also previously been with Havant and Waterlooville and Gosport Borough. Youngster Lloyd Ayling has been added to the squad from Eastleigh.
Young attacking midfielder Owen Fee has been another arrival during the pre-season build up to the new campaign.