Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport -

Hill sprints and run­ning were on the agenda as Ash­ford United boss Danny Lye put his squad to the test at Mote Park in Maid­stone on Tues­day night. He worked them hard in a 25-minute spell, dur­ing a 90-minute work-out ahead of the club’s first pre-sea­son friendly against Tun­bridge Wells on Satur­day. Lye said: “It’s a good place to go, and gave me a chance to see what people have got the stomach for, and test their en­durance.” United will field new sign­ings Sam Long and Tyrell Richard­son-Brown in the game against Wells, with Lye set to field two dif­fer­ent teams in each half. De­fender Ge­orge Sav­age won’t be re­turn­ing to the club this sea­son, and is ex­pected to join for­mer skip­per Stu­art West at for­mer South­ern Coun­ties East League Premier Di­vi­sion ri­vals Whit­stable. Sav­age made more than 40 ap­pear­ances for the club, scor­ing two goals. Lye said: “Ge­orge and I have spo­ken sev­eral times, and he wanted to stay and fight for his place. Sam will be my first choice right-back and Ge­orge prob­a­bly knew his chances will be lim­ited and has de­cided to move on.” For­mer left-back Chris El­liott, who was also ex­pected to join in pre-sea­son, has now joined Bostik South ri­vals Sit­ting­bourne. United host Mar­gate on Tues­day (7.45pm). The club have un­veiled plans to launch an academy schol­ar­ship pro­gramme. Be­gin­ning in Septem­ber, the club hope to have 18-24 play­ers in­volved at the start, with plans to ex­pand the num­ber later. They will field an un­der-21 de­vel­op­ment side and two un­der-18 teams – op­er­at­ing in the Bluefin Youth and Kent Youth Leagues this sea­son.

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