Excitement building as Horndean prepare for eagerly-anticipated return to action with Hawks friendly
Manager Michael Birmingham is relishing Horndean's long-awaited return to action on Saturday.
The Deans host National League South side Hawks in their opening pre-season friendly in what will be their first fixture since beating Alresford 6-0 on December 15 last year.
Birmingham called his squad back in for pre-season earlier than usual at the start of this month and he has brought in five new faces.
Striker Zak Willett (Paulsgrove), Michael Baker (Bognor), Sam Emeny (Baffins Milton Rovers), goalkeeper Cameron Scott (AFC Portchester) and Luke Dempsey have all signed for the Deans.
Boss Birmingham is delighted with how training has gone so far this summer - and now he cannot wait to welcome Paul Doswell's Hawks' big-hitters to signal the return of action at Five Heads Park.
‘I’m really looking forward to it. I put in my programme notes that is was December 15 the last time we played so it’s been a long time coming,’ said Birmingham.
‘It’s great that Havant & Waterlooville have stuck to their word and come to play us every season.
‘They know we’re a club that like to do things the right way, the pitch is looking immaculate, it should do because no-one has played on it for about 24 months! It’s looking lovely up there.
‘We’ve done a lot of work to the ground to improve the facilities etc. Now the first game is coming, the buzz is around the place and the camp at the moment, the lads are looking forward to it.
‘It’s against Havant & Waterlooville the biggest (non-league) side around the area at the moment so we’re excited.’
Birmingham has so far lost just one player from last season's squad, with young full-back Will Webb heading to Cardiff University later this year.
The Deans boss is happy to have kept his squad together, while also adding five new additions to bump up competition for places.
Birmingham said: ‘It’s going okay. We’ve got good, good competition for places. It’s been good to get these players in, they’ve got good characters, and their attitude at the moment has been spot on - I couldn’t ask anything more of them.’