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Hill happy with squad balance ahead of season

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Garry Hill isn’t quite done, perhaps, with his squad building but he goes into the big kick-off on Saturday satisfied with his work to date.

The manager will be adding another Academy graduate to his squad later this morning and is keeping tabs on another couple of players that he has, for reasons beyond his control, been unable tie down before Saturday.

“I’m restricted temporarily with one or two other players coming in,” Hill told the club website. “I’m in a position where paperwork, their release from their current clubs, that sort of thing is holding it up. We are governed by situations out of our control so we might not be doing anymore business in time for Saturday or Tuesday, but we’re still looking out for one or two more maybe.”

The second Academy signing will bring the squad up to 18 players including the injured Cody McDonald and Hill is comfortable with where the club is at before game one.

“That’s where we are,” he said. “I’m happy with what we’ve had to do and what we’ve got. I think the squad and the club needed refreshing for this season and I’m pleased overall with what we’re going into Saturday with.

“We’ve got experienced players, very good professionals with good characters on and off the pitch and that’s a massive thing. Even though the numbers are small for this weekend, we have an adaptable squad. I would like to see 18, maybe 19 maximum so we’re not quite there yet.

“That will be 16 or so proven players and two or three improving players who will develop, who will better their football careers with us and will be worth their place in the squad.

“I’m very happy with the players we’ve signed and the balance in respect of the budget, individual wages and the players’ adaptability. I believe the 18 or so core players we will have will be very competitive and I’ll let people take their own view on what those players do going forward.”

There are no targets for Hill’s squad either. The mass end-of-season clearout has the bookies offering long odds on the Fleet while pundits haven’t been too favourable either but the manager cares nothing for outside opinions.

“Predictions aren’t for me. Everyone else can take a view, and I’m sure they will take a view. I’ve seen articles where we’re one of the fourth from bottom favourites, that kind of thing, but that’s all talk. Let people talk, we’ll do ours out on the pitch and we can only prove people wrong.”

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