Coach says double swoop is massive for Rocks

A pre-season huddle - now the Rocks are ready for action / Picture by Tommy McMillan
A pre-season huddle - now the Rocks are ready for action / Picture by Tommy McMillan

The Rocks squad is getting stronger all the time as they gear up to begin the huge challenge of life in National League South - and the management are delighted with progress.

As reported, they have added to their attacking options by swooping for former Havant player Ben Swallow – and have secured the return to Nyewood Lane of ex-Pompey academy full-back Calvin Davies.

In addition, they say they are actively pursuing a couple of other key signings to complete the squad.

The double signing comes days before Bognor kick off their National League South campaign at home to Bath City.

After an unusual summer, which included a two-month bid to replace Jamie Howell as manager that ended with a three-man team appointed to the dugout, fans are upbeat about the way the squad is coming together.

The latest signings arrive at the Lane in addition to new midfield trio Pat Suraci, Joe lea and Tommy Scutt, while last season’s player of the year Dan Lincoln has also rejoined, as reported last week.

He’s someone we’ve been keeping an eye on and I’m absolutely elated we’ve been able to tempt him to Bognor.

Darin Killpartrick

Swallow, 27, is a very experienced wide-left player, who helped Havant to the Ryman premier title last season. Originally from Cardiff, he began his football career at his hometown club before joining Bristol Rovers.

He made almost 50 Football League appearances for Rovers and also enjoyed loan spells at Taunton Town and Bath City.

Swallow went on to play at York City, Newport County and Dartford in the National premier as well as Bromley in National League South before joining Havant at this stage last year.

Davies joins the Rocks after two lengthy and successful spells with the club in the past two seasons. He has been having trials with professional clubs but has been unable to secure a deal elsewhere.

Rocks coach Darin Killpartrick is buoyant over the latest additions to the dressing room.

He said: “I’ve always been an admirer of Ben, and his balance and ability. He’s someone we’ve been keeping an eye on and I’m absolutely elated we’ve been able to tempt him to Bognor.

“His experience and ability at the level of football he has played at will be so valuable to us. You have to have the right personalities to fit in at Bognor and I certainly think he comes into that category.

“The same can be said for Calvin. It’s brilliant he is going to be with us. Calvin has fitted in at Bognor since the first day he came. He’s a good footballer and he cares. He’ll be a popular member of the squad.”

Swallow and Davies add competition in two different parts of the team and Killpartrick said it was vital to keep everyone in the squad on their toes and knowing they were not guaranteed a starting place.

This will be Bognor’s first season at National League South level since 2009 and they admit it’s a bit of a trip into the unknown. But it’s one the management, players and fans say they cannot wait to start.

Killpartrick said: “It will be a real challenge – a high-end challenge. It’s exciting for everyone involved in the club but it’s hard to predict how hard it will be.

“There won’t be an easy game at this level. There weren’t many in the Ryman League, and will be even fewer now. But we have new teams to play, new grounds to visit and it’s an adventure for the fans and for us as a club.”

Club secretary Simon Cook said: “We continue to actively chase a couple of other key signings as they complete the squad for the coming season.”

STEVE BONE

Get the first report from the Bath City and Poole games at www.bognor.co.uk

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