NEW manager Adie Arnold hopes an early start can help Christchurch steal a march on their Wessex league rivals – on the pitch and in his search for players.

Arnold ran the rule over no fewer than nine prospective recruits along with Priory’s existing squad in the club’s first pre-season training session held on Tuesday night.

The Hurn Bridge boss, who took over following the resignation of predecessor Michael Cuffie last month, remained tight-lipped on the identity of his trialists but declared his intention to make quick decisions over their futures.

Explaining his quest to hit the ground running, Arnold told the Daily Echo: “From a manager’s perspective, August is a very difficult month at this level of football.

“The games come thick and fast with the FA Cup and lots of league games packed in from the off. It’s a spell which can define your season so it’s important to be prepared and start with a big pool of players.

“We have got the lads in quite early because we felt it was important to have a couple of sessions where most of them were available before the holiday season kicks in.

“My biggest challenge will be getting the balance right between using the quality we have and adding the right players in the right areas. We have some very good players coming in and it’s looking good but it’s about finding the right blend.

“We have a good base of young and experienced players and there is every reason to set the bar high and push for the top 10. It won’t be easy because it’s a tough old league but if we strike the right balance we have every reason to feel positive.”