Danny Thompson admits Gosport Borough are taking a gamble with a number of new players on their return to the Southern League premier division.
The Privett Park club’s bid to live within their means after surviving a series of winding-up orders has meant a massive cut to the playing budget.
Though Borough have managed to keep hold of a few experienced players, those brought are unproven at Southern League level.
Thompson, however, remains optimistic the gamble will pay off.
The assistant manager said: ‘Unless you give the youngsters a chance you will never know if they are ready.
‘Of our squad of 18 players, only six are proven at this level or above.
‘It means taking a bit of a gamble on the best young kids in the area but our situation demands that.
‘The signs were promising in our first pre-season game – despite losing at Winchester City.
‘Our new coach Steve Stone has laid on some tremendous sessions and everyone is working hard.’
Borough introduced defender Ashton Leigh, wide-player Taylor Roach – who is a Cardiff City Academy graduate, ex-Hawks duo Liam Kimber and Harry Medway, along with teenager Max Smith.
Thompson is also excited by the arrival of ex-Pompey scholar Chinedu Vine, who has been with MK Dons.
‘Chinedu scored against City and getting hold of him is a big plus,’ he added.
Borough are also hoping to sign former Pompey Academy defender Ousman Saidy, who has been on trial at Colchester United.
‘If he isn’t successful at Colchester, we believe he will sign,’ said Thompson.
‘He is from Gosport and would be a great asset.’
Borough will start life back in the Southern League with their longest trip of the season – King’s Lynn.
Thompson isn’t too unhappy about that.
‘It is better going there on a Saturday rather than doing it in midweek,’ he said.
‘The fixtures have been quite kind to us with not too many long midweek journeys and Christmas looks attractive with games against Basingstoke and Weymouth.’