Diss Town face competition from a number of clubs in their bid to re-sign Lowestoft Town’s Ben Fowkes for next season, writes Alex Moss.
The teenager joined the Tangerines on a dual-registration deal from Lowestoft at the start of the year and netted seven goals in 16 appearances.
Fowkes made an immediate impact during his spell at Brewers Green Lane last season, scoring just 30 seconds into his debut in the 2-1 win against local rivals Stowmarket Town on February 6.
With there being interest from clubs higher up in the non-league pyramid for Fowkes this summer, Diss manager Ross Potter is still optimistic of the midfielder returning to his squad for the upcoming 2016-17 campaign.
“I’m hopeful that Ben will be returning to the club,” the Tangerines boss said.
“As with any prominent young player, there has been a lot of interest in Ben and a lot of competition for Ben’s signature.
“There are teams from a higher level after him, but I’ve had a conversation with Ben and said we can offer him guaranteed game time.
“I was hoping to sign him last week but a few more teams have gathered in the background so that wasn’t the case.”
Fowkes featured in Diss’ 4-1 pre-season friendly win over higher level Thetford Town on Monday night.
Sam Page, Mark Shadrack, Josh Knights and James Harrison netted the goals for the Tangerines, who continue their pre-season preparations with the visit of Gorleston to Brewers Green Lane tomorrow (3pm).
Potter has confirmed that seven players have re-signed from last season’s squad, including Norfolk Under-18s star Callum Olpin.
Player of the season Joe Manning, Page, Jason Armes, Adam Burroughs, Sam Wenham and Solomon Pipe have also committed to next season, while Charlie Webb (Walsham-le-Willows), Jack Tipple (Scole United), Shadrack (Mildenhall Town), Jason Cole (Acle United) and Max Kirkby (FC Clacton) have all signed.
Last season’s top goalscorer Jamie George and captain Danny Self have both left the club, with George joining Great Yarmouth Town and Self taking on a management role at Mulbarton Wanderers.
“This is the time to be doing the hard work and I’m pleased with how things are going,” Potter said. “I’ve learnt from last year’s experience. I arrived late as the manager and didn’t get a lot of time before the season started.
“I’ve been talking to numerous players and some of them I’ve missed out on because we’ve been competing against Ryman League teams, but I’m satisfied with what we’ve got. It’s a strong group.”
n Diss will begin their 2016-17 Thurlow Nunn League First Division campaign with a trip to Dereham Town Reserves next month on Wednesday, August 3.
The new Thurlow Nunn League season will have a staggered start after many of its clubs opted out of a July 30 start date.
The Tangerines have elected to start their season a few days later, while Debenham LC will not begin their campaign until August 6.
Potter’s side have been drawn away to local rivals Stowmarket Town in the second round of the League Challenge Cup (November 1).
In the First Division Knockout Cup second round, Debenham host Leiston Reserves, while Diss will entertain Wisbech St Mary or Dereham’s Reserves (both October 18).