Trio join Rocks - will more follow them?

Gary Charman and Darin Killpartrick in the Rocks dugout / Picture by Tim Hale
Gary Charman and Darin Killpartrick in the Rocks dugout / Picture by Tim Hale

Bognor have signed midfield trio Joe Lea, Pat Suraci and Tommy Scutt as their summer team-strengthening gathers pace.

And more signings could follow once the management have run the rule over others in more friendlies.

Lea was in Southampton’s youth set-up from the age of nine but was released at 18.

He went to Yeovil last year and played in a League Cup tie with Everton before going on loan to Gosport for the second half of the 2016-17 season.

Suraci, who tends to play a more forward role, started at Southampton with Lea at nine but was released at 16, then joined Aldershot. He signed his first pro contract in Belgium at Lommel United, then came back home and played for Gosport last season.

Scutt is a product of Pompey’s youth system, who the Rocks first picked up on last season.

They all look like good players with the ability to play at National League South level.

Jack Pearce

But Bognor won’t be signing left-back Tom Bird.

Like the midfield trio, he impressed in Saturday’s 2-0 friendly loss to Pompey. But he is Basingstoke-based and would have found it tough travelling down to train.

General manager Jack Pearce said they were pleased to get another three players signed on.

“They all look like good players with the ability to play at National League South level,” he said.

“We won’t be signing Tom Bird but that’s nothing to do with his ability.”

Other would-be Rocks, including young forward Kieran Rowe, who has been brought to the club by captain Sami El-Abd, will be given further chances to impress as the programme of friendlies continues.

Bognor won 5-2 at Chichester City last night with goals by Ollie Pearce (2), Jimmy Wild, Jimmy Muitt and James Crane and go to Horndean on Saturday before hosting Crawley Town next Wednesday night.

The Rocks played well in a 2-0 defeat to a full-strength Pompey side at a packed Nyewood Lane on Saturday.

Coach Darin Killpartrick, who is running the team with Jack Pearce and Gary Charman, said they were pleased with progress in matches and training.

The Pompey game followed a 4-0 win at Worthing a week earlier.

Killpartrick said: “The Pompey game was a very useful workout for us.

“It showed areas where we are working well and others to work on. Games like the visit to Horndean are obviously a different sort of test but we’ll approach all games in the same manner.”

Suraci picked up a slight groin strain against Pompey but won’t be out for long.

Keeper Dan Lincoln was back in a Bognor shirt for the Blues game and the Rocks remain hopeful he will be with them again this season.

Full-back Calvin Davies, who has played in the Rocks’ friendlies, is having a trial with Bristol City.

Finding another striker is a priority for the Rocks.

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