Luke King is expected to make a timely return to the Gosport Borough ranks for their game against former club Fleet Town tonight (7.45pm).
King, who established himself as a regular in Borough’s promotion-winning side last season, has been in New Zealand for most of the summer.
And assistant manager Mick Catlin is delighted to see him back at Privett Park, fighting for his place in Alex Pike’s Conference South outfit.
‘Luke came to us from Fleet last season as a midfield player,’ said Catlin.
‘When we played at St Neots earlier in the season, we had a few injuries and had to look around for someone to play at full-back.
‘Luke fitted the bill and did so well he went on to make the position his own for the rest of the season.
‘He is only 21 years old and certainly one for the future.
‘But we have strengthened our ranks since last season and he will be up against increased competition for his place.
‘It is good that he has come back now, though, because he needs to get some games under his belt.’
Catlin is happy with Borough’s preparations for their first-ever season in Conference South – despite being held to a draw by Wessex League Sholing in their last friendly.
He has been impressed by the fitness levels of his players, which has enabled them to dedicate more time to technical development.
‘The players came back fit which meant we didn’t have to spend a couple of weeks running them up and down,’ said Catlin.
‘Everyone has come back looking very positive.
‘We are stepping up every game and increasing the intensity which is the key to pre-season.’
Borough continue their preparations at the weekend with a visit to Southern League Redditch.