Fitness focus for Fareham as they bid to make impression in Wessex League next season

Simon Woods will remain at Fareham next season. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Simon Woods will remain at Fareham next season. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Pete Stiles is confident Fareham Town can turn their fortunes around and make more of an impression in the Wessex League premier division next season. 

The Reds have flirted with relegation for the past two campaigns. 

Injuries and unavailability hit the club hard at times and it was difficult to achieve any continuity.

Another area of weakness was a lack of strength in depth and Stiles has already taken steps to try to remedy that weaknesses.

Stiles has brought in Paulsgrove pair Connor Messingbird and Luke Slade.

Messingbird is is a midfield player who works hard and holds the ball up well.

Slade is a wide player who impressed the Cams Alders boss when playing against his side last season.

They’ve linked up with their new team-mates for a pre-season campaign with a chief focus on improving fitness levels. 

Stiles said: ‘Our big problem last season was being unable to field a settled side and a lot of that was down to players not being fit enough.

‘Because they weren't as fit as they should have been players picked up injuries.

‘When we were able to field our strongest teams we showed that we could be a match for most teams.

‘I need to get the players fitter. We have been back training since early June and have been concentrating on fitness and conditioning.

‘There was also a need to strengthen the squad in places and the players I have brought in should do that.

‘Luke is more of an unknown quantity but tore us apart with his pace when he played against us.

Stiles has also had to bring in a new goalkeeper after Declan McCarthy left to join Alresford Town.

Former Hordean stopper Ross Casey has arrived at Cams Alders.

A positive for the Reds boss is he's managed to re-sign most of last season's squad.

Simon Woods, Scott Hamilton, Gary Austin and Lewis Stockford will again provide the backbone of the side.

Fareham start the new campaign at home against Bournemouth Poppies on August 3.

‘It is important to make a good start and being at home is a bonus,’ added Stiles. 

‘Bournemouth finished third last season but we beat them in our final game.’