Encouraging but more to do, says boss

Garry Hill was pleased to see his side continue their unbeaten pre-season streak and cap it with a win over an accomplished Charlton Athletic – but he knows his squad isn’t the finished article.

“There’s no secret about it, we’ve got three or four more to come in,” he told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “We’ve got some trialists here with us but I’ve never panicked, I’ve never rushed, I pick and choose how I go along. I understand players want to get themselves sorted which I respect but by the same token I think everybody knows I do what I think is right for me and the football club.”

And so far, the new signings seem to be bedding in just fine. While Hill is not going to read too much into friendlies, he was pleased with what he was able to take from the win over Charlton.

“Of course it’s always nice to win pre-season games whoever you play against,” he said. “It was a thorough, good workout. It was a strong Charlton side for 60 minutes and I felt we played very well in that time when it was 2-0. It was played in a very good spirit. There were times and periods in the game when both teams had a lot of good possession.

“Over the 90 minutes the No.1 thing is we don’t get injuries and I’m pleased to say no problems [in that regard]. One or two are a little bit tight which you’re going to get but some encouraging signs which is all I’d say at the moment.

“It’s early days. Pre-season games are like driving lessons, you have a good one, you have a bad one. When I looked at tonight’s game, no disrespect to Tottenham on Saturday, but we had a little bit more of a high-tempo match. We haven’t got the numbers but at the same time for us it will be a small squad this year and hopefully quality over quantity. I think you can see there’s some good players signed on.”

The Fleet manager has remained measured in his approach to the transfer market this summer, refusing to get swept up in the numbers game as other clubs did their business quickly while Hill ticked over with a signing at a time.

“It’s been a hard summer and not being conceited, there aren’t too many people who have been in a position like that,” he said. “I’ve never experienced it before, it’s been tough and it still will be tough but I like to feel the players I’m signing are good, experienced players, good characters and I think the club needs that this season and going forward.”

And the future is key to Hill’s squad-building plans amid new financial structures at the club.

“There’s basically, near enough a completely new squad,” he said. “The boys who were here from last year have received the new players well.

“You try to sign your own players. Last year I inherited, this year I’m recruiting so even though the wage structure has changed a lot, some 50 or 60% down on last year, I think the type of players we’re trying to sign will help us.

“It will hopefully be exciting for the supporters as well seeing a little bit of fresh blood into the football club.

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First-Team Squad