MANAGER Ken Vaughan is confident of kicking off his Bournemouth Poppies rebuild with the capture of Christchurch duo Marc Fairbrother and Connor Doe.
Vaughan revealed he was close to signing the pair after confirming preliminary talks with ex-Priory boss Michael Cuffie over the vacant assistant-manager's post at Victoria Park.
Midfielder Fairbrother, who made 37 league appearances for Christchurch last season, has not been listed as a registered player at Hurn Bridge for the forthcoming campaign, unlike highly-rated full-back Doe.
Vaughan told the Daily Echo: “We’re pretty confident of getting them and we’re just awaiting clearance on Connor’s paperwork. I’m delighted because Marc is tried and tested and Connor is a decent young lad.
“A few players have gone out again this summer but they should fill the gaps quite nicely. There is still a long way to go and I want to add another four of five players as soon as possible. It’s a case of another rebuilding job for us but this is a good start.”
Poppies have lost the services of Jake Rowley and defensive linchpin Richard Jackson to ambitious league rivals Blackfield & Langley.
Their artillery has been further depleted by university students Luke Ingram, Scott Costello and Gareth Owens leaving the area.
Elliot Ward is expected to join AFC Portchester, while full-back Luke Ayrton will not be returning according to Vaughan.
Among the new arrivals is Holt United winger Chia Khider, while Sami Makhloufi, Howard Nhemachena and Lyam Teixceira are among the Poppies youngsters to sign first-team forms.
On his targets for the new campaign, Vaughan added: “Our first goal is to get one in front of last season’s finish so anything from 14th upwards will be okay for us.
"There’s no way we can compete with teams in the top half but we do feel quite optimistic about the younger players.
“They are looking good but the real test will come when they face the harsh reality of Wessex League football. It will be a big step up for them.”