BOSS Brendon King is confident the characters brought into his Hammers squad this term will make a big difference to the club going forward.

United have recruited a number of names from higher up the non-league circuit this summer, with the likes of Nathan Walker and Jamie Gleeson coming in from Dorchester Town and Poole Town respectively.

And King, whose side host Lymington Town in their Sydenhams Wessex League Premier Division opener tonight (7.45pm), is expecting his new recruits to make an impact from the off.

“We have managed to keep the majority of the squad from last season and have identified players that we needed in terms of experience,” said King, who is expected to give Walker the captain’s armband.

“We are pleased to get the likes of Nathan Walker, Jamie Gleeson, Harry Montacute and Jamie Filkins in. To mix that with the youth and talent we have got is really good.

“I needed some more leaders out there on the pitch, we were lacking that last season. The players I signed with the likes of Nathan and Glees are winners and that’s going to hopefully rub off on the younger lads.

“I am expecting big things from them because they are good players.”

On his expectations for the season, the United manager claimed: “I have set a target in my head but I am not going to go shouting from the rooftops or anything like that. I know where we should be finishing with the squad we have got.

“I am not going out and say we are going to win the league or anything because that’s just ridiculous. However, I would like to think we would be up towards the top half of the table and pushing towards the top six.”

Striker Steve Smith is set to miss out this evening through suspension.

Elsewhere in the division, Poppies start their campaign with a home clash against Brockenhurst and Bashley make the trip to Shaftesbury.

In Division One, Ringwood Town host Laverstock & Ford (all 7.45pm).