Stiles targeting rare top six finish for Fareham as cash injection helps him strengthen Reds squad

Pete Stiles is clear about his objectives for Fareham Town in the second half of their Wessex Premier campaign.

Sunday, 29th December 2019, 8:10 pm
Updated Monday, 30th December 2019, 12:36 pm
Matt Simm, left, in action for Fareham against Petersfield in January 2018. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

He believes a top six finish - for only the third time in the club’s 22-year Wessex League history - will be a just reward for all the hard work put in at Cams Alders in the last six months.

Recently at this time of the year, the Reds have found themselves in the bottom half and facing a relegation battle.

In 2017/18 they finished 16th out of 22 and last season came 16th out of 20.

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This time around, though, Fareham head into the new year in ninth place and looking up rather than down.

Stiles insists there is a different feel about the place.

'The club is moving forward in the right direction,' he said.

'There is still a lot more to be done but more people are stepping up to the plate and doing things.

'When I first came in (in January 2017) the ground resembled Rorke’s Drift but we have done a lot to try and sort that out.

'Just after Christmas there were 12 of us in tidying things up.

'It makes a big difference when others are involved.

'One person ran a Christmas raffle which raised over £1,000 for the club.

'That is something that hasn't happened before.

'Results have improved on the pitch and a lot of that is down to increased availability of players.

'My two assistants, Matt Powell and Sam Dixon, are both physios and have done a great job keeping players fit.

'Warm ups and training have been appropriate and players have benefited from it.'

The Reds have also reaped the rewards of having a bigger squad, and Stiles has recently made three more signings.

Wide player Matt Simm has rejoined after spells with Moneyfields and AFC Totton, big defender Jack Nicholls has arrived from Bashley and goalkeeper Lewis Watts signed from Gosport Borough.

Simm made 23 starts for Fareham in 2017/18, scoring five times.

'We have plenty of competition for places,' said Stiles.

'Financially we have received a bit more backing which allows us to look after our players a little better.

'None of them are on big money.

'In fact they are all on the same, getting a little help with expenses.

'We have also been able to offer a little win bonus.'

Stiles is backing his side to push on from their solid start to the season.

'Finishing in the top six would be a good achievement,' he summed up.

'That is a big improvement on fourth from bottom.'