Yesterday the weekly 'Southwark News' ran the headline:
FIRST TEAM PLACES UP FOR GRABS
Hamlet boss Gavin Rose insists all first team places are up for grabs as his side hit the business end of their pre-season preparations.
This week Dulwich have already completed games against Crystal Palace and Sevenoaks Town before they play three more times in four days starting with Saturday's contest against Whitehawk.
Speaking before the Palace game Rose told the News: "There are places up for grabs. They are all playing for a shirt and there is not a lot between the twenty odd players who we have in the squad right now."
He added: " We will be looking largely to build on fitness between now and the first game of the season and as we get closer to that game we will work on other thingd in terms of putting together a team. I will then pick the people who I think will do the best job in the first team."
As they enter this busy period Dulwich have no major injury worries, with the exception of Harry Ottaway who will miss the start of the season.
The Hamlet manager said: "It was good news that the injury was not a [leg]break but the bruising is in the same area where he had problems before and that makes things difficult for him.
"He won't be available for the first game of the season, but we think in around four weeks time he will be competing for a place."
Laurent Hamici was a striker at Champion Hill during Roses' predecessor Craig Edwards tenure as boss and Rose has resigned the frontman who has already put in a couple of appearances in pre-season. "
"I didn't take anybody on from the Craig Edwards team as we wanted a clean start. But Laurent has come in and worked hard and we hope he hits the ground running for us,"Rose said. "Since he left Dulwich last time he has gone to some good clubs and done quite well and we hope he will be getting plenty of goals for us."
Rose added: "We have brought in a number of new faces in pre-season and they have all commented on how warm the reception they have got in and around the club, and I want to thank the fans for what they have done in terms of that."
In the weekend edition of today's 'South London Press' there was more talk of the new-look squad, explaining how the "12th Man" fundraising campaign had helped:
Rose signs duo with fans' help
Dulwich Hamlet boss Gavin Rose has brought striker Laurent Hamici back to Champion Hill. And experienced left-back Marlon Patterson has also joined. Both deals have been funded by the Twelth Man Scheme. haun Dooley and Neil Cole run the project which was set up in 2012-with fans making donations that are invested on the playing side.
Rose expects to start the Ryman League campaign with 20 players. Hamici scored in Tuesday night's home friendly against a Crystal Palace XI that contained Frazier Campbell and Stephen Dobbie. Ashley Carew also netted from the spot. Hamlet eventually lost 3-2.
"The Twelth Man have given me the opportunity to sign Laurent and Marlon," said Rose. " It means we can start the season with all the players we've got at the moment-whether that will continue all the way through probably depends on how well we're doing. If we start well and everyone is playing their part then we'll look to keep everybody. But there might be some that are not happy they are not playing or thatwe're not getting usage of. Laurent was at Dulwich just before I came in, he was with Craig Edwards. He has gone on to play for Carshalton and done reasonably well for himself. When he has played against us I've been impressed. He has done well so far. Marlon has been at Bromley, where he had captained them, but he had suffered with injuries last year and didn't have a run of games. We're trying to get his fitness up to scratch. We're giving him as much time as we can because he could be a good asset for us."
Dulwich have three friendlies left. Tomorrow they travel to Whitehawk (3pm). A young side will go to Holmesdale on Monday before the home derby with Tooting & Mitcham on August 5 (7.45pm).
Rose said: "We are starting to get the shape of the team-there are probably three or four positions that are up for debate. Seven or eight players are near enough nailed on provided they continue what they are doing. We've always said no-one is safe. We want that competition to push them on."
Rose was pleased with what he saw against Palace. It is the fourth year in a row that the Premier League side have sent a side over for a friendly. "We passed the ball well in the first half and offered athreat in behind that caused Palace a few problems," said the Dulwich manager. "In the second half their fitness naturally told and we found it a little harder to control the rhythm of the game or get out of our half. Ethan Pinnock did very well and Laurent tested their two centre-backs with a tireless workrate. He scored a good goal to cap it off. Ashley Carew added a little bit of quality to us, which I was happy with."