Seven new faces at Wessex League newcomers Fleetlands – and there’s more to come

Fleetlands boss Dan Greenwood has so far brought in seven new faces ahead of the club’s Wessex League return – and there could be more to come.

By Simon Carter
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 12:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 12:27 pm

The Coptermen were promoted from the Hampshire Premier League last month after finishing third in the Senior Division and passing a ground grading inspection.

As a result, they will be playing in the Wessex for the first time since winning the Division 3 title when the league had three seasons - compared to its current two - in 2006/07.

Greenwood has so far brought in two players he’s never worked with before - imposing centre half Stan Hopkins from Moneyfields and Totton & Eling striker Rory Wood.

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Defender Stanlie Hopkins, left, has signed for Wessex League new boys Fleetlands. Picture by Tom Phillips

Hopkins ‘was keen to test himself in the Wessex’ after spending the last two seasons with Moneyfields reserves in the HPL.

The player made a successful playing recovery earlier this year after being stabbed in a Cosham car park last October.

Hopkins will join skipper Luke Heard, Dan Clasby, Toby Wilson and new boy Brad Stacey in competing for a central defensive role, with Greenwood currently undecided as to playing 3-5-2 or 4-4-2.

Wood, who has spent the last few years at T & E in Division 1 of the Wessex, has been recruited on the recommendation of some of the Fleetlands players. Though goalless in 11 T & E starts last season, he did net eight times in 20 starts in 2018/19.

Right-back Ben Metherell - who Greenwood knows from his days at Hayling United - has also joined, adding his name to the sizeable ex-Humbugs contingent who followed Greenwood to Lederle Lane last season.

Metherall signed for Wessex League Premier side Horndean last summer but only made a solitary first team appearance after sustaining a pre-season injury.

‘It was difficult for Ben, Horndean had Robbie Taw at right-back and he was their player of the season,’ said Greenwood.

Striker Kai Sterne - 20 first team starts for Fareham Town in 2021/22 - is also on board along with three more ex-Reds, Cam Stone, Callum Archer and Stacey.

There is an obvious link there - last season’s Fareham reserve boss, Seth Puckett, is now Greenwood’s No 2.

Elsewhere, attacker Callum Dart has ‘signed solely for Fleetlands’ despite interest from Wessex League clubs.

‘Baffins wanted him and Moneyfields were keen to have a chat,’ said Greenwood, who is Dart’s cousin.

The boss added: ‘We’ve had around 50 players turn up for training sessions so far. That includes the reserves and under-18s, but it’s still good numbers.

‘I’d like a squad of 20-22. We’ve got eight more league games straight away than last season, plus cup games. And I’d imagine we’ll be playing twice a week early on when the weather is nice.

‘We’re quite confident with the (new signing) work we’ve done so far. There’s one or two more targets, but we’re in no great rush.’

Fleetlands start their pre-season friendly fixtures with a visit from Horndean on Tuesday, July 5.