NEW manager Marc Benterman says he has been genuinely surprised by the level of interest of players wanting to join him as he moulds his first squad at Witham Town.

Having taken the reins at Spa Road just a week ago, Benterman said it had been a hectic first few days as he had got his coaching team in place and had been talking with scores of players.

He has been pleased with not only the calibre of players who he had been talking to, but also the number and the level of interest he had seen from those looking to join the club for their Bostik League division north campaign next season.

Benterman said: “Our phones have been non-stop since we took over and I’ve had 165 players past, present and future contact me in my first week in charge.

“They have all been wanting to play for this great club.

“I always knew I had a job on my hands, but it’s different from the job that I was expecting.

“I’m surprised by the interest I’ve had.

“That’s great and I’m genuinely touched by it.”

One appointment that the new manager has made is in naming his first captain as popular defender Pat Ahern will take the armband next year.

Benterman is pleased to have a player who has come up through the club’s youth ranks as his captain and said he had been building his squad further this week.

More announcements will come when formal league forms have been signed with players, although some who have made verbal agreements have, like Ahern, been at the club previously.

And the new Witham boss was clear about what he was looking for from any signings.

He added: “I’m looking to recruit people who know Witham Town, have a connection with the club and know what we are all about.

“That is what I want from people.

“I’ve had 16 verbal agreements with players so far; some will be under the radar at the moment, but they won’t be under the radar by Christmas.”

The Witham boss said Bostik League forms would be available at the start of next week and he expected to be able to start naming additions after that.