Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Football - By Steve Tervet

New man­ager Ja­son Whit­more in­sists Ash­ford United is not a sinking ship as he bids to add ex­pe­ri­ence to his young squad and climb away from dan­ger in Bostik South.

Brought in as care­taker fol­low­ing Danny Lye’s res­ig­na­tion in Au­gust, Whit­more now has the job on a per­ma­nent ba­sis and wants play­ers to come to the club for what he feels are the right rea­sons.

The 43-year-old will put his trust in some of the teenagers he knows so well from work­ing in Ash­ford’s youth sys­tem and wants no egos or mer­ce­nar­ies in his new-look squad.

Speak­ing be­fore Tues­day’s 1- 0 home win over Rams­gate – United’s first of the sea­son – Whit­more said: “I’m the one with my name at the top but it’s a group ef­fort. We want to build a team. We’re not go­ing to panic and buy older heads.

“We want to build a team that will get us up the league this year but next year, when they grow, we’ll be even stronger.

“We’re look­ing to fil­ter in qual­ity youth with ex­pe­ri­ence, good young lads. We want to bring a real pro­fes­sion­al­ism to the club and take away what I call mer­ce­nary foot­ball – peo­ple who are there for the money.

“I know non-league is like that but if you get a lot more youth in­volved and get them en­joy­ing their foot­ball, you can con­trol it rather than let­ting them con­trol you.

“We want to make th­ese play­ers into a win­ning team, which isn’t done overnight.

“We just now need an­other cou­ple of ad­di­tions, which are go­ing to be key pieces of our jig­saw as long as they fit in and aren’t ego­tis­ti­cal.

“I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done, we’re a team and you play as one. We’ll work hard, go in the trenches to­gether and fight for each other.

“That’s what I think we’ve lacked, the off-the-ball work. It’s easy when you’re win­ning but when you’re not, how do you re­act? That’s been the key fo­cus for us.”

Ash­ford have al­ready used more than 40 play­ers this sea­son but Whit­more be­lieves things are set­tling down with the likes of Tyrell Richard­son-Brown and Ben Davis­son hav­ing re­jected ri­val of­fers to stay with the club.

He said: “There al­ways seems to be some kind of drama at the mo­ment but things are steady now.

“All foot­ballers are am­bi­tious. They don’t want to stay on a sinking ship but we’ve proved to them this is not a sinking ship.

“You’ve got to get them to be­lieve in you. They’ve had suc­cess un­der a dif­fer­ent man­ager, the club’s done well to get pro­moted and you’re then left with not even half a team.

“I know they are buy­ing into my phi­los­o­phy be­cause of the con­ver­sa­tions we’ve had.

“We’ve in­vested in the Play­ertek equip­ment which will help get their fit­ness lev­els to where we want them to be.

“There’s a £ 3,500 in­vest­ment from us for the play­ers and that shows we mean busi­ness.”

Ash­ford go to Hythe on Satur­day be­fore host­ing Green­wich in the Ve­loc­ity Tro­phy on Mon­day.

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