Fitness is the key for Chapman

Ian Chapman knows what he wants from his players to improve.'Pic. Steve Robards
Ian Chapman knows what he wants from his players to improve.'Pic. Steve Robards

Burgess Hill manager Ian Chapman has identified fitness and structure as the key factors he is looking for his team to develop in their pre-season friendlies.

The former Brighton and Hove Albion defender highlighted the importance of solidarity and the overall structure of the team.

Having lost 2-0 to Haywards Heath on Saturday, Chapman was keen to stress that none of the first team squad were playing, and the game provided a chance for the new trialists to impress.

Chapman confirmed that a couple of the 14 trialists will be joining first team training this week and hinted that they might be involved in the coming friendly matches.

Meanwhile, new signings Max Hunter, 22, Aaron Jones, 19, and Tony Garrod, 25, were all involved and impressed Chapman at the weekend, but left back Joey Taylor, 22, missed out due to a “slight foot injury.”

Chapman said: “Results don't matter pre-season, it's about getting fitness, getting the team right for the start of the season, so we don't pay too much attention if we lose pre-season.

“We've still got five weeks until the start of the season and at the moment it's purely about getting minutes under their belt ready for the start of the season”.

Chapman also revealed that Ivorian defender Cheick Toure, 24, and French midfielder Pierre Hazet, 26, are returning to the club, as he looks to strengthen his squad.

He said: “ Cheick Toure, who was player's player and supporters’ player of the season, is coming back to training tomorrow, he's been on trial at Maidstone.

“We're trying to build the squad gradually, it's important. We've got Pierre Hazet, who was with us last year, he's been France, he comes back next week.”

Chapman could also reveal that so far there are “12-14 players” that he feels will make the first team squad for their first league match in five weeks time, which is yet to be announced. He said: “We still want to add two or three more to it to make it stronger, we want to go into the season with a stronger squad than we had last year and I do believe we can do that.”

The Bostik League fixtures were released on Thursday, and the Hillians have been handed a home time against Needham Market on the opening day of the season (12th August).

Following the release of the fixtures, Burgess Hill were held to an eventful 0-0 draw against Eastbourne Borough in their second pre-season friendly and the clean sheet will surely please Chapman as he looks for solidarity at the back.

Chapman's side have also been drawn at home against Marlow or Aveley in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy which will be played on Saturday 28th October at 3pm.