Portland United have announced the double signing of Hayden Scott and Liam Sayers for the 2022/23 campaign.
Scott, 16, scored twice in 11 games for the islanders last season, netting his maiden first-team goal in the 3-2 win at Alresford in March.
And boss Franklyn Clarke has high hopes for the teenager, who has symbolised the club’s player pathway working from under-18 to senior level.
He told Echosport: “He’s started last season with the under-18s and then he made his way into the reserves and established himself as a top player.
“He’s earned his opportunity with the first team and then when he came in he scored a couple of goals straight away and really made an impact.
“He’s a real example of the pathway working. Hayden has signed first-team forms and will do pre-season with the first-team.
“We’ll see how he gets on and we’re excited for another big season if he can progress this season as much as he did last season.”
Sayers, meanwhile, played just eight times last season as the experienced striker was dogged by injury.
The ex-Portsmouth and Dorchester forward failed to hit the back of the net for the Blues in the previous campaign but Clarke is backing the marksman to shine if he stays fit.
He said: “With Liam, if we can keep him fit and if he can keep himself fit, we’ve got a real asset at this level.
“He is a top player, he’s been well-coached over the years and you can see that in his game.
“He spent a couple of years at Portsmouth’s academy and I played with him at Dorchester.
“He’s obviously got ability but it must be frustrating for him to carry these injuries and not show what he can offer.
“I spoke to Liam and he’s confident going into next season that he will be fit and hopefully he can remain fit. The Portland fans have got another exciting player to watch.”
Sayers’ confirmation gives Portland four strikers to choose from with Joel Hewitt, Troy Walbridge and Greg Borthwick all agreeing terms for 2022/23.
Clarke said: “Liam can also play deeper in that number 10 role because he’s really good with the ball at his feet, linking play.
“He adds another option for strikers but he’s quite versatile. The good thing about this season that we didn’t have last pre-season is options in a lot of positions.
“Last pre-season we had a squad but we weren’t really covered in a few areas. Now we’ve got quality competing for positions and we are much stronger.”
Portland have now signed 14 players, with goalkeepers Mike Edgar and Brad Smith, midfielders Ryan McKechnie, Matt Harvey, Marcus Smith and Ben Morris, defenders Harry Thomas, Alfie Toland and George Stuttle plus strikers Troy Walbridge, Joel Hewitt and Greg Borthwick also committing.