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Fowler denies he's plundered Trams


NEW Whyteleafe manager John Fowler has rubbished claims he has persuaded the whole first team from his former club, Croydon, to follow him to Surrey.

Reports from Croydon suggested the entire Trams team, minus long-serving goalkeeper Francis Ameyaw, had decided to leave the Arena for life in the Southern Counties East League, but Fowler, who took over at Whyteleafe two weeks ago, says this simply is not true.

"I can only think that website has got the wrong end of the stick because I've taken five," Fowler said.

Of those five, one is the manager's son, Ryan, and the others are Jason Thompson, Jensen Grant, Taylor Smith and Tom Pratt.

"They said I have taken the whole team but I looked at it and really I've only taken JT, Jensen, Ryan, Tom and Taylor and that was it," Fowler continued.

"From my team last season I think three others went to trial at Tooting & Mitcham, they obviously wanted to try and play at a higher level and you have to respect that, and a couple went to Epsom. The whole team might have left but they didn't come with me.

"I was a bit surprised because in fairness, all the players that came with me to Whyteleafe were ones I took to Croydon in the first place."

Whyteleafe played their first friendly, and first game under Fowler, on Tuesday evening when they played Combined Counties League side South Park in a friendly.

Played across three 30 minute games, South Park won 3-2 overall but Fowler was pleased to have the opportunity to see his new team in action.

"In the first 20 minutes we played the youth teams and a few trialists," he said.

"They didn't know each others' names.

"There was a lot of 'oi, pass the ball' but it was a nice opportunity to look at some different players. In the second 30 minutes we had most of the squad minus Roscoe Dsane, and the second 30 was 1-0 to us, we looked far more confident.

"But I took 20 players down to South Park to have a look at them and give them an opportunity to show me what they've got, because there were a lot of players at the club I hadn't seen play before."

Leafe play Tooting & Mitcham in another friendly tonight (Thursday) and Fowler admits he will have to cut the squad down to around 16.

"There are a couple that I will tell they need to look elsewhere but I think I've got my squad," he added.

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