LYE STEPS UP TRAINING AS UNITED PREPARE FOR FIRST PRE-SEASON GAME
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.