CHRISTCHURCH manager Adie Arnold hopes possession will prove nine tenths of the law in the race for protégé Jack Lovell’s signature.

Sought-after striker Lovell, Verwood Town’s top scorer with 11 league goals last season, has been the subject of a three-way tussle between Priory, Potters and Hamworthy United over the summer.

Verwood boss Carl Poore had been optimistic over his chances of retaining the marksman but Lovell has started pre-season with Christchurch and lined up in their opening warm-up match – a 2-1 defeat at Bashley – on Friday.

Midfield trio Nathan Saxby, Ross Hampton-Brown and Brad Hill have all followed Arnold – who quit Verwood in March – across to Hurn Bridge with positive signs that Lovell will complete the quartet.

Arnold told the Daily Echo: “Jack knows how much I rate him because I gave him his chance at this level. He is raw but a real talent and we hope to get him in and develop him even further.

“We think he can benefit from playing alongside the likes of Gareth Barnes and learn about the other side of the game, holding up the ball and bringing people into play which is important for his all-round game.

"He has to make his own decision and make it reasonably quickly but he knows how keen we are to get him and I’m hopeful he will sign.”

On his triple midfield swoop, Arnold added: “I think the best of the youngsters have come over with us and things are clicking into place quite nicely.”