The Evo-Stik League Southern
Published 17th August 2012
....lucky in their quest for Evo-Stik League Southern Division One South & West promotion.
After missing out in the play-offs for a third season running, the Boatmen head to relegated Evesham United tomorrow for what will be the first ever league game staged at the Robins’ new Jubilee Stadium.
Newton – 20-year-old son of Chelsea assistant-manager, Eddie – featured for Sholing in Monday’s 1-1 friendly draw at Gosport Borough.
He has joined the club for three months from Blue Square Bet South neighbours Eastleigh, where he was this week unveiled as one of nine gifted young players for the future.
“I’m always a bit nervous with new players coming in, but Cassius was accepted straight away,” said Boatmen’s boss Diaper.
“It’s not that we’re cliquey, but the best thing about Sholing is the camaraderie, the closeness of the players and our work ethic.
“I’ve never said we’re better than any other club, it’s just that we work hard and you’ve got to be a good player to get into the circle.”
An attacking midfielder, Newton has previously had spells with Brentford, AFC Bournemouth, MK Dons, Winchester City, Salisbury City and the Glenn Hoddle Academy.
He featured for Eastleigh in pre-season and, although not quite the finished article, Spitfires boss Ian Baird believes he has rich potential.
“Eastleigh are trying to wean him in to play just behind the frontmen, but he can do other jobs in midfield,” said Diaper.
“He’s young and enthusiastic with a great character and he rang me on Tuesday to say how much he’d enjoyed the Gosport game.
“We’re all about player progression at Sholing and the one thing that’s very apparent is the amount of energy we’ve got with all our young players.”
Dom Burbridge, a striker signed from Cowes Sports, scored against Gosport and joins ex-Eastleigh trio Ben Chambers, Ben Wilson and Liam Robinson and goalkeeper Matt Brown – back from Romsey – in Sholing’s new-look squad.
On the debit side, the Boatmen have lost influential skipper Kevin Gibbens to Blackfield & Langley, while goalkeeper Mike Hookway was released. Although Sholing’s budget has shrunk considerably over the last couple of years, their past record dictates that they will still be viewed as one of the teams to beat.
“Not too many clubs make the play-offs three years running and, while it’s nice to have respect from other clubs and be seen as the benchmark for the play-offs, we’d like to lose that and go under the radar a bit this time,” said Diaper.