Clubs will come in for Bognor’s top players – pressure will be on as boss expects summer of change
Bognor bosses believe the squad could face significant changes in the summer – both from new players arriving and current ones leaving.
They want to recruit fresh faces who can ensure a more sustained promotion bid in 2019-20 – but do expect to lose some of their present squad, writes Steve Bone.
Manager Jack Pearce and coach Robbie Blake are weighing things up after a disappointing end to the league season. Saturday’s final game, away to Folkestone, will end with the Rocks finishing between 11th and 14th – when they had spent much of the season in or near the top five and dreaming of a play-off spot.
Injuries have not helped but their home form has been poor and Pearce and Blake are determined to make a better fist of it next season – although Pearce says their current position is not unreasonable for an outfit on their budget.
He said: ‘With our best 14 players, with a season of normal injuries, I think we’d be in the play-offs. But part of a manager’s job is to overcome those injury problems and in that respect I haven’t done very well.
‘It’s going to get harder and harder for us.’
Pearce said if everyone who was at the club at the start of the season was fit and they could add a couple, he would be confident for next season. But he added: ‘From what I’m hearing it’s going to be quite difficult to keep all the players we want and therefore we need a restructure.
‘Clubs that want to push on don’t come after your worst players. They only come after your best players. That puts a strain on us to try to keep the best players. That becomes expensive and if they get injured again it becomes more expensive.
‘It’s a challenge, a major challenge. On our structure that we have at the moment with the gates we receive and the other income that comes in, without any other individual putting money in, we are a mid-table step three club. That’s where we are.
‘In years when we have people fit, if we get too many injuries early in the season, we’ll be in a relegation battle at this level.
‘If we do okay at the start with injuries we’ll be in the top half or top six.
‘With normal injuries we’ll be floating around a play-off spot, if we get excessive ones we’ll be relegated.’