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Chapman Optimistic Ahead of the New Season

By David Marriott

Burgess Hill Town look towards their final pre-season friendly before the full season begins later this month.

Their last game was a 2-1 away victory over Bostik South club Hastings United.

Second half goals by Tim Cook and Lee Harding secured the win.

Manager Ian Chapman said: “We still have a long way to go, but I feel we are going in the right direction – the players are looking fitter, and we now need to work on our shape in and out of possession as well as doing loads of quick feet work in our training sessions.”

Chapman said: “Hastings was another really decent workout. For long periods, we had to keep a good shape against a side with really good movement.

“It took a while, but after about 20 minutes we got to grips with it and played some decent stuff ourselves at times.”

Their next fixture, away to Lewes on Friday is Chapman’s final chance to get a feel of his squad.
Chapman noted: “A few guys won’t play because they have knocks, but we want to put out a near full strength side and ensure everyone is raring to go for the start of the season.”

So far in pre-season, the Hillians have beaten higher level opposition in Whitehawk as well as coming back from behind against both Hassocks and Hastings, with the former being a three- goal deficit within 18 minutes.

Hill fans will still remember their miraculous final day great escape, with Sam Fisk scoring a 98th minute winner against Merstham to remain in the Bostik Premier Division.

Reflecting on his team’s performance last year, Chapman said: “There were a lot of close games last season and we were only three points from finishing 13th so it’s important that we are more clinical this year and start putting the ball in the back of the net.”

With the team having improved on its league position every year since Chapman took charge in 2012, the club is looking towards building on their average attendance of 365 which is approximately 1 per cent of town’s population.

Chapman explained: “It’s a big town and it’s the town’s football club and we want them to be proud of it.
“So we have to keep putting ourselves on the map and continuing to embed ourselves within the community.

Things seem to be on the up for the Hillians.

Pre-season results show that they are capable of competing with those higher than themselves.
The full Bostik Premier League season starts on Saturday, August 12, with Chapman’s side at home to Needham Market at the Green Elephants Stadium, RH15 8DL.

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