Horsham FC have taken advantage of the change of management at Crawley Down by signing three of their players.
Forward Jamie Cade turned down a deal with Merstham to re-join the Hornets, and joins midfielders Byron Napper and Ross Morley in making the move from the Anvils to Gorings Mead.
Striker Jamie Brotherton has also singed from rivals Worthing to become Simon Colbran’s fourth summer acquisition, and with most of last season’s squad already committing themselves the manager says his transfer business is already done and dusted.
“We are now in a really really strong position,” Colbran said. “We looked to sign four players ahead of the new season and we’ve managed to do it this early which is not bad going. They are all the players who we wanted as well most importantly, we’ve got two strikers who are proven goal-scorers and two very good midfielders.
“They are all big signings. Jamie Brotherton is a well known goal-scorer in this league and was a handful when we played them in the Brighton cup final. Jamie Cade has played professional football for a few years in the Conference, and Ross and Byron are very good midfielders for this level.”
With John Maggs stepping aside at Crawley Down because of budget constraints and former Lewes manager Simon Wormull taking his place, Colbran has profited from the change and added: “We’ve signed three of their best players.”
Both Cade and Brotherton will be well known already to Hornets fans after previous spells at the club. Former Lewes and Tonbridge Angels forward Cade was top scorer during the 2010/11 season, while Brotherton had a spell at Horsham in 2011 when fitness issues saw him struggle to make an impact.
Morley and Napper are predominately central midfielder, Morley a player who likes to get on the ball and can pick a pass while Napper is more defensive minded. Colbran added: “I think that’s our lot, unless someone exceptional turns up for the right money.”
Colbran is still waiting to hear back from defender Matt Simpson, who has moved out of the area and may opt for a club closer to home.
Midfielder Ryan Marriott won’t be available until the end of August after landing a job abroad.
Of the youth players, Jamie Ampleford has secured a scholarship in America so will miss the season, but the likes of Harry Smith, Gregg Ganger and goalkeeper Lewis Blaney will all be fighting for a first team place having ended their final year in the Under-18s.