Heath hope to improve once again this season as ground takes shape

Football, Southern Combination League, Premier Division: Broadbridge Heath. Jake Holmes.  Pic Steve Robards  SR1628200 SUS-160926-142107001
Football, Southern Combination League, Premier Division: Broadbridge Heath. Jake Holmes. Pic Steve Robards SR1628200 SUS-160926-142107001

Broadbridge Heath are looking to once again improve on last season in a campaign which should hopefully see them move into their new home.

The Bears are set to embark on a new Premier Division campaign with a number of new additions, but it will be their addition of a permanent home that will be the most valuable.

Following discussions with the developers and Horsham District Council, work on their new facilities should start late September or early October with hopes to be in before the end of this season.

The facilities, which were approved in February, will include three pitches, one enclosed with two small stands and floodlights, a pavilion with four team changing rooms, bar, kitchen and meeting room.

The move will see them get away from their current long-term lease with the Leisure Centre on land just yards away, behind the current site.

On the pitch, having used a total of 47 players in the first team last term, manager Steve Painter has managed to keep the majority of his squad.

He has also been busy bringing in some additions to strengthen the team, such as former Three Bridges midfielder Tom Bold, former East Grinstead winger Ibrahim Hassan and goalkeeper Connor Evento, who includes Haywards Heath as a former club.

Centre-midfielder Alex Parsons is back from university, having only played three games last season. Martyn Flack is also back having missed nearly all of last season and Dan Attwater has also committed.

Heath will be missing the services of Jake Holmes for the start of the campaign, who is expected to have surgery later in the year on a back problem. The striker has been Heath’s leading scorer for the past five seasons and will be missed but Painter is hoping to sign a replacement striker before the season starts.

The Bears have improved every year since Painter took charge in 2010 when they were playing in the third division. Last year’s eighth place in the Premier was their best-ever.

The boss acknowledges there are some good sides in the league this season and is being realistic in predicting where his team will finish.

He said: “If we have all our players fit and available we can compete with anyone in the league but realistically I would just like to improve on where we finished last season.”

The club have used 30 different players in four games in pre-season, winning 3-0 against Chipstead and 2-0 against a Tonbridge Angels XI, before losing 3-1 at Corinthians and at Redhill.

The Bears kick off their season away to Sevenoaks Town in the FA Cup on Saturday in the extra preliminary round - just their second-ever game in the competition.