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Dorking Send Prior Warning With Major Signings
Posted: 8th June 2018
Dorking Wanderers have made a clear statement of intent for the coming season, unveiling four new signings today as the club looks to build on its first season in the Bostik Premier League and compete at the top end of the division.
Prolific goal scorer Jason Prior joins from Havant and Waterlooville after scoring the goal that secured the south coast club’s promotion to the National League, the highest level of non-league football.
The 29 year-old signed as a professional for League Two AFC Wimbledon in 2012, only to see his opportunities cut short by a broken leg, but has been a prolific striker at every level of non-league football, including scoring 95 league goals in 126 games for Bognor Regis Town. After netting 26 National League South goals for Havant and Waterlooville this season, bringing a second successive league title, Prior’s relishing the opportunity to lead the line at Dorking.
“When it became known that I would be leaving Havant for family reasons, Dorking Wanderers showed the most interest in me,” he says.
“I know midfielders Lewis Taylor and Luke Moore who spoke really highly of the club to me and I liked the style of play I saw from Dorking when we met in the FA Trophy last season. So I’m really pleased to be here and have the chance to score the goals that help the club push for promotion.”
Prior will be joined by fellow newcomer Kieran Lavery, another prolific striker who has signed for Wanderers after nine years with neighbours South Park, where he scored over 200 times.
“There’s a fair bit of rivalry between the two clubs so I'm sure I'll get a bit of stick once the news is announced,” says 28 year-old Lavery.
“In fact, I’ve been talking about a move here for a while and asked to leave last season. That didn't happen in the end, but I'm thrilled to be here now as we move into the new Meadowbank stadium - among the very best facilities in the league.”
Also making a short journey to Dorking is Leatherhead’s current Player of the Season, midfielder Niall McManus. The 23 year-old has been with the Bostik Premier rivals for a season after signing from Matlock Town where he played while studying economics at Sheffield University. Having impressed during his debut year at the Tanners, McManus is looking forward to the opportunity to play some stylish football on the new artificial surface at Meadowbank.
“The pitch will really suit the way I play,” he says.
“I'm not the tallest so it's no good playing on pitches where you have to kick long - I like to pop the ball around in neat triangles. It's the way Dorking always want to play too, but haven't always been able to in the past on the worn pitch at Westhumble. There should be good football to come at the new stadium.”
The quartet of signings is completed by another player who has been plying his trade in the National League. Experienced centre back Sami El-Abd joins from Bognor Regis after being tempted by Dorking’s plans for the future.
“The manager set out his stall to me very early on, bringing me to the new ground and telling me what he wants to achieve,” says the teacher at the Brighton and Hove Albion Academy who turned 31 this year.
“I watched videos and analysis of the games and really liked the attractive style of football here,” he adds.
Welcoming the four new arrivals, manager Marc White says they make the club’s ambition clear.
“Without doubt, these are major signings and it’s a huge day for everyone who wants to see Dorking Wanderers continue to progress,” he says.
“We had a decent first season in the Bostik Premier League, a year of consolidation, but we don't like to stand still for too long and I think people coming to watch the club as we move in to Meadowbank are going to see that we’re stepping it up another level to really compete this year.
“Two players from the National League, a proven local goal scorer and one of the league’s players of the season – all four of today’s new signings bring us some extra quality and experience that will blend with the talented squad already at the club and suit the attractive football we look to play.”
Dorking Wanderers have just revealed that Meadowbank stadium will open with a celebrity match on Sunday 8th July and supporters will get their first opportunity to see today’s signings at the club’s new home a little after that, in a prestigious pre-season friendly to be announced shortly.