Blues boss Clark excited for league opener at familiar foes Bowers

Wingate & Finchley players have a water break during a match against Hemel Hempstead Town in the Spe

Wingate & Finchley players have a water break during a match against Hemel Hempstead Town in the Spencer McCall Charity Tournament (pic: Martin Addison). - Credit: Archant

Wingate have a new-look squad and confirmed recently Ola Williams had left after 279 appearances for the club

Wingate & Finchley boss Steve Clark is looking forward to doing battle with Bowers & Pitsea again, but this time in the Isthmian Premier.

The experienced coach knows the Len Salmon Stadium outfit well from his time in the Essex Senior League with Sporting Bengal United.

Clark was assistant at the east London side three years ago and now works for Wingate, who are two levels up the pyramid.

Bowers have enjoyed a rise as well, winning the Essex Senior League title in 2016 and then becoming champions of the Isthmian North last season.

Recently appointed Blues boss Clark will know more than most about the divisional new boys, but is also well aware it will not make Saturday's opener any easier.

He said: "Rob has done a tremendous job there and I know he has Rich (Bates) in there helping and Rich is as good as it gets in terms of having someone as thorough and knowledgeable about non-league football.

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"It's no surprise they did so well last season and we are looking forward to the game."

After visiting Essex on Saturday, Wingate will be back at home on Tuesday evening when Kingstonian travel to the Maurice Rebak Stadium.

Clark has looked at numerous trialists during the summer and now has his squad pretty much ready and it's one he feels can enjoy success in this season's Isthmian Premier.

He concluded: "I certainly feel with the squad we have the minimum we should finish this season is in the top-half."

Wingate finished pre-season on Saturday with a 2-2 draw at Ware, where Layne Eadie and Marvin Morgan were on target.

The Blues also announced recently that long-serving defender Ola Williams had left the club and signed for divisional rivals Cheshunt.

Full-back Williams went on to make 279 appearances at Summers Lane and was part of the famous treble-winning side.

An official club statement read: "Ola has played across the backline for the Blues under several managers. In his time at the club, 'Boogie' found the net five times.

"A Finchley man, Ola represents Wingate & Finchley's ethos perfectly - to promote opportunities for local, young players to play at a good level of football."

Chairman Aron Sharpe added: "Ola has been an incredible servant for this club for many years. His experience and leadership proved invaluable during last season's relegation battle and we wish him nothing but the very best in his future.

"He epitomises our philosophy of bringing through local boys and has been an instrumental figure for the club over the year. He will always be welcome at the Maurice Rebak Stadium as a friend of this club."

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