BUILDING a squad capable of competing in the Evo-Stik Southern League now tops Gillingham Town’s priorities, according to manager Adrian Foster.
The Hardings Lane outfit will apply for promotion from the Toolstation Western League next season, with plans for a new ground at land near their current home in the pipeline.
With Premier Division silverware arguably out of reach for Gill this campaign - their first in the top flight - ambitious Foster is busily planning for the future.
Recruitment is at the forefront of his mind as he targets experienced ball winners to accompany his team’s creativity. Bridgwater Town’s Jon Vance has joined on a dual registration agreement and Foster said securing players of the midfielder’s calibre would be a coup, but the direction the club needed to head in.
“Our ambitions are to get into the next league, we are building a squad capable of performing in that league and I am looking at players for next season,” said Foster.
“I have known Jon for years, I know him well and I hope he will help in the middle of the park. We have got a few young lads in there and Jon’s experience alongside them will only benefit them.
“If we get the kind of players I am after we will be good enough to compete in that league, it’s just about building.
“At the moment if games were about keeping the ball we would win every time. But as you progress higher, the cynical, more physical side of the game comes into it more.
“When we bring in players they need to be physical and deal with those demands. That is the only thing we are missing. On pitches that are rough we need those people that will put their foot in and that is what we are looking for now.
“It is about getting those two or three players that will make the difference. We want players that break up the play and give possession to those that want to play, that is key.”
Foster is also hoping resting his most prolific goal-scorer of recent seasons will see the striker rediscover his hunger in front of the target. Having scored 43 in as many games last season, Lee Gale has notched 13 in 2012-13 and started Saturday’s 3-1 defeat of Longwell Green Sports as a substitute.
The hotshot watched on for 70 minutes as recalled teenager Aaron Rodriguez took his starting chance with both hands, firing home two either side of Ben Thomson’s strike.
Gale was expected to return to face Winterbourne United last night with Foster relishing the prospect of the former Shaftesbury man partnering one-time Exeter City trialist Rodriguez.
“Aaron’s 17 and his talent is tremendous for his age but nobody is coming in to have a look,” he said. “He took his goals well, the first with his right and the second being an excellent left-footed finish into the corner.
“He hadn’t played for a while but he has brought us something different. I wasn’t too sure with the conditions of the pitch being wet and muddy but he played really well.
“Lee probably hasn’t scored as much as he has wanted to and sometimes it’s nice to bring a striker off, show him the game and put him back in. He could be hungrier and sometimes with strikers you have to do that.
“I am hoping that Lee will be hungry now. He can score goals in this league and I am hoping he can do the same next season. Those two scoring and playing well makes a decent strike force.”