Pic: Edmund Boyden
BROMLEY manager Neil Smith admits he has had to tailor his signings to suit the club’s new 3G pitch, but is determined to make sure the club’s end-of-season form resurfaces in three weeks’ time.
The National League club have spent big on the field, but that doesn’t mean the Hayes Lane boss has had a bottomless pit to work from.
Bromley have invested heavily to become the third club in Non-League’s top level to play on state-of-the-art 3G – but Smith accepts it’s made his job a little more difficult.
“To a degree you have to look more closely at the players you target,” explained the 45-year-old former Woking stalwart.
“Some players do find it more of a challenge playing on 3G, so you’ve got to go for people who want to play on it. Signing players who may potentially struggle is a recipe for disaster.
“It’s a bit different, the ball runs smoother and faster so you need players with energy. We think it will make for an exciting season.”
The pitch is nearly complete, with the white lines that show football is nearly back added to the synthetic surface during the middle of last week.
“It’s getting closer to completion and it looks great, really great,” he said. “It’s been interesting being at the club this summer. The ground works are stage-by-stage and we’re building the stadium up gradually.
“What’s fantastic is that our academy is coming home and that’s all down to them being able to have a place to call their own.
“We’ve got some great kids coming through, so having everything under one roof will give us the feel of a great community club. We want everyone to be a part of it.”
We all enjoy a summer break, but Smith probably wishes Bromley didn’t have one. Their form in April was fantastic and with 13 points from a possible 18 taken in the final month of last season, the standards have been set.
“When you end really strongly the expectation is that you start the new season the same way and pick up where you left off,” added Smith, who has been at the club since 2011.
“That’s the problem! But we feel the players we’ve added can help move the club forward. All the clubs are looking at the fact it’s the top seven teams now in the play-offs and it’s added an extra edge to it all.”
As has the signing of Brett Williams, the talented former Aldershot striker is unplayable on his day and Smith thinks he can add another dimension.
“He got into double figures for Torquay last year and when he was at the Shots he was one of the best players in the league,” he adds.
“He scored against Leatherhead last weekend and it’s important strikers find the net as soon as possible at their new clubs.
“We’re not finished with our recruitment quite yet, but we’ll take our time with things. The squad we’ve put together and the fitness they’re already showing leads me to believe we can improve next season.”