But he is having to rebuild the squad he inherited after some key figures told him they won’t be committing to the Portsmouth-based club for 2022/23.
Midfielders James Cowan and Harry Sargeant won’t be returning, and neither will be vastly experienced centre half Lee Molyneaux and last season’s top scorer Rudi Blankson.
Cowan was Wilkinson’s captain at Rovers, while Sargeant had a fine debut season at step 5 level after being part of the US Portsmouth squad which reached the FA Vase semi-final in 2020//21.
Molyneaux was a regular at centre half and Blankson ended the season with a career best 23 goals. His league tally of 22 was the ninth highest among Wessex Premier players and, of the eight who scored more, none made fewer starts than Blankson’s 27 (plus 10 off the bench).
Clubs can’t officially announce new signings until June 1, but Thompson admits he has spoken to seven potential new faces who have told him they will sign. He is still planning to talk to other possible signings.
‘Some have played at Wessex level, some have played higher,’ Thompson told The News. ‘We have to replace the ones we’ve lost. But I am confident that we will be as strong as we were last season, 100 per cent.
‘We finished eighth last season, and we under-achieved with the squad we had and the start we had. Next season I will be aiming for the top six.’
Thompson has also completed the assembly of his backroom staff.
Matt Jones - Baffins’ head coach last season and a former Gosport Borough colleague of Thompson’s - is his assistant.
Steve King, who was at Fleetlands last season, and Shane North have been brought in to boost the coaching staff. Shane is the son of Shaun North, a former Pompey Academy coach recently installed as the Blues’ kitman.
Chris Clark - who spent last season at Denmead, where he picked up a serious knee injury - has replaced Moneyfields bound Alex Hards as Baffins’ goalkeeping coach.
Wayne Hughes - another who was at Fleetlands - has been brought in as kitman, while Josh Lamb and Claire Malambo have been retained as physios.