Promising defender Corey Heath is the latest player to give Bognor Regis Town – relegated from the Vanarama National League South – to sign for the Rocks for the new season.
Central defender Heath has committed to the club for the upcoming campaign in the Bostik Premier Division.
He showed early promise in the Rocks’ start to life in National League South but an ankle injury kept him out for a large portion of the season.
Heath joined the Rocks from Worthing last summer. He is said to have been instrumental in helping the Woodside Road outfit to the Isthmian League South Division play-offs in 2015/16.
Manager Jack Pearce says he is delighted the player will continue his development with the club. He told the club`s Pitchero website: “Corey was very unlucky last season with an injury and we saw only glimpses of his ability.
“However, we did see enough to want to retain him and we are obviously delighted that this is going to be the case. He is fit to train and it is another very positive signing for the club.”
The club have already secured the services of Harvey Whyte, Calvin Davies, Keaton Wood, Chad Field and Tommy Scutt ahead of the new season.
Pearce, who stepped in to manage the club following the departure of Jamie Howell to Eastbourne and Sami El Abd’s brief stint as boss, says the club is continuing to remain open-minded regards the hot-seat.
Yet despite demotion and the uncertainty surrounding the role of manager, Whyte feels there is still a lot to be positive about.
He said: “Players will come and go, and that is up to them. You can’t blame players who want a change, perhaps earn more money somewhere else. We saw it with Alfie Rutherford and Jason Prior, when they went to Havant. And fair play to them.
“But I just love Bognor. I love the football we try to play – and above all I want to move on from last season. Obviously, there is going to be lots of talk about whether Jack is going to be the manager, and that will be sorted one way or another. But all I want to do is play and repay the fans for their loyalty by having a decent season.
“If you look at the players we’ve signed so far, it is very encouraging. I think Calvin Davies could one day be a professional and he’s a big signing. He’s technically gifted – all that might hold him back is his height!
“Though I would never tell him to his face, Chad Field has impressed me and I think he is only going to get better. Then you have Keaton, who is still only 23 but he has shown such maturity and again, I think he has a bright future ahead of him.”
Bognor lost the services of Darin Killpartrick after calling time on eighteen years as coach and player and nearly 1,000 games. And Whyte says not having him around the club will be strange.
He added: “I’ve learned so much from Dabba in the years since I left Havant, especially technically. So, yes, it is undoubtable he’ll be missed. But we have to move on and try to regroup and get on with it.
“Jack has taken a lot of stick and he is the manager and we have gone down so he can’t escape that. But some of the personal abuse he has been given is totally out of order. He is a football man through and through and to my mind deserves respect”.