New boss Leese expecting to put together a strong squad at Enfield Town

By Dominique Stafford in Football

NEW manager Andy Leese has reassured fans that it will not be long before Enfield Town’s squad for next season starts to take shape.

The past few weeks have seen a number of key members of the Town side who reached the Ryman Premier Division play-offs last time around say farewell to the club, with goalkeeper Nathan McDonald, wide man Samir Bihmoutine and midfielder Scott Shulton all joining former manager Bradley Quinton in making the move to Braintree Town.

Defenders Harold Joseph and Percy Kiangebeni have joined St Albans City and several other players are also considering offers from other clubs.

But Leese – who is thrilled to have been appointed by Town following his successful ten-year stint in charge of Chesham United – firmly believes that he will be able to put together a squad which is capable of again challenging for promotion.

“This is a club I’ve long admired,” he said. “I know the guys who are running it and Enfield Town is an extremely well run and well supported club.

“It has been a busy and exciting time getting familiar with the club, speaking and meeting with the existing squad, appointing back-room staff, finalising pre-season games, sorting the pre-season training programme, meeting with key personnel in the club, and at the same time trying to agree terms with new players.

“It has been an interesting baptism and I tried to keep pretty much everyone in the existing squad, but some players have left the club to play at a higher level. They have been honest with me and there is not a lot you can do or offer to stop players bettering themselves.

“Players are weighing up their options at the moment, but there are some who have indicated that they want to stay around.”

Leese added: “We want players who are here for the right reasons. We have to operate within our means, as the club has done successfully for the last few years.

“This means that we might miss out on some players. What I do know is we will have players coming to us because Enfield Town is a great place to play football – the support is excellent, the playing surface is first class, players will like the environment we create here, the way we like to play and they get well looked after.”

The manager, who will be assisted by former Birmingham City and Cardiff City defender Darren Purse – who has also been registered as a player – has also revealed that he is close to confirming a number of new faces he firmly believes will have a big impact at the club.

“We have a number of players close to joining us,” he said. “In some cases holidays have taken precedence, but I hope to have terms agreed with a number by early next week.

“We have targeted a number of players we would like to bring in to strengthen the squad as we look to build on last season. They are all quality, experienced players who will significantly strengthen the squad.

“We also have some selected players coming in to pre-season that we will look at on a trial basis, all of whom we think have the pedigree to make it at our level.

“We will use a couple of the early games to look at players. We are focusing on giving young, local players an opportunity and, with that in mind, we have spoken at length with Marvin Walker at Enfield Borough and John Meehan, who runs the under-17s and under-18s.”

Leese is also hoping to hold a fans forum in the coming weeks, details of which will be announced in the near future.

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