Paul Doswell has heralded a new dawn at Sutton United and rubbished talk of a crisis at Gander Green Lane.
The departure of club stalwarts Jamie Stuart, Anthony Riviere and Sam Rents, as well as Dean McDonald, to Margate, has triggered consternation among fans.
Doswell has also revealed that, after a loan spell at Eastbourne Borough, Jamie Taylor is available for sale to the south coast club at the right price – adding to the disquiet.
United’s Skrill South form has garnered just 12 points from the 10 games since the beginning of November, leaving them fourth in the table, but a mammoth 20 points behind leaders Bromley.
However, Doswell insists the four departures were instigated by United in an effort to address the recent slump in form, reduce the wage bill and bring in fresh new faces.
And the fresh faces have come in thick and fast with the arrival on rolling contracts of goalkeeper David Gregory and midfielder Alex Wynter from Crystal Palace, and Harry Osborne (from Charlton Athletic) and Kane Haysman (from Gillingham).
Lee Sawyer has signed after being released by Woking, while Gavin McCallum has returned to the Lane after a spell with the same club.
Doswell is also hopeful of recruiting former Welsh international Rhys Weston from AFC Wimbledon and 18-year-old midfielder Dammy Shitta from Millwall.
Doswell said: “We’re fourth in the table, which is not quite where we wanted to be to be honest. I expected us to be closer to Bromley but they have been exceptional.
“About three weeks ago, I looked at the squad and what we’re spending, and it was a conscious decision from me to take out some of the older players.
Target: At 33 years old, Rhys Weston would be one of Doswell's more experienced signings
“We have done the right thing for them by getting them to a club that is looking to push on and the right thing for this football club because we have reduced our budget by 25 per cent.”
“Our form from November to December shows this to be the right move, as does the fact our crowds are not getting better – that it is really disappointing.”
He added: “But I am not down – I am a fighter, I am a realist. If we had been supported by better crowds, which had been more enthusiastic, we would have been pushing even harder.
“The fact is we’re not being supported, there is apathy around the place. Not from the players or the board, but from the Sutton public.
“So I wanted freshen things up and get some younger legs in the team, and give it a real good go in the second half of the season and prove we can get into the play-offs on a mid-table budget.”
Gone: Dean McDonald
Doswell’s determination to get the best from his young players starts this weekend when Gregory and Wynter will line up alongside Osborne, Sawyer, McCallum and Haysman for the visit of Gosport Borough.
And to the fans voicing concerns, Doswell said: “They either trust the manager or they don’t. There is no crisis.
"All the players who have left were decisions made by me and the staff. We feel we can strengthen and do better with the young players we have brought in.”
He added: “I cannot wait to see those young players blossom and I think they will.
“That is what my football is all about now, working with the young players and making Sutton United a place fans want to visit.
“It is a magnificent football club, with a great board with perhaps the best chairman I have ever worked with.
“If we were to get promoted, the crowds would improve so my goal is achieve that under budget.”
Gone: Jamie Stuart Picture: Paul Loughlin
Gone: Sam Rents Picture: Paul Loughlin
Gone: Anthony Riviere