By Bruce Archer

Gary Abbott admitted the call from Alan Dowson asking him to be his assistant at Kingstonian caught him off guard, but it took him no time at all to accept.

The 49-year-old former striker has spent the past 27 years around the non-League circuit, playing as recently as last season while coaching at Cray Wanderers.

The much-travelled Abbott has turned out for Enfield, Aldershot, Welling United, Grays Athletic, Walton & Hersham and Hastings United in a career that began in 1995.

Almost 20 years on, the lure of joining up with Ks was too much to resist.

He said: “I’ve known Al for years now, just bumping into him all over the place as a player and a coach.

“He rang me out of the blue saying Mark Hams was leaving and did I want to be his assistant? And straight away I was never going to say no.”

Abbott, however, ruled out the possibility of lacing his boots up for the Ks this season: “I’m just concentrating on the coaching, and getting the players in good shape,” he said.

Last year, Ks finished a disappointing 11th in the Ryman Premier, but Abbott is sure they can improve on that and believes he and Dowson are on the same page in terms of preparing the team.

He said: “We’ve got the same ideas tactically. We’re going to defend from the front and take the game to our opponents.

“You’ve got to have a bit about you to do that and hopefully it will pay off.”

Abbott has also been impressed with the set up since his arrival and believes everything is in place for the club to press on and push for promotion.

“I’ve played here loads of times so I knew about the ground, but now I’ve seen the training facilities, which are Football League standard.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Spurs

Hotspur: Action from Ks' 4-0 defeat to Spurs on Thursday night   Picture: Martin King

“I know that everything is there showing they want to move on and it’s important we have a good season this year, particularly after last season. “It’s a massive club and such a big name.

“There’s a good vibe here, which is what I like because I want to move up, and so does Al, we all want to have a right go at promotion.

“All the board want to move it forward, so hopefully we can push it in the right direction.”

Dowson and Abbott have been preparing for the new season by working through an influx of trialists at Kingsmeadow, something that will be on-going up to the start of the season.

Abbott said: “We’ve had a few people on trial the past few weeks but we’re not going to mess about, if we don’t think they’re good enough we’ll release them straight away, which we have done.

“We’ve still got a couple we’re looking at, and there will probably be a couple more coming in.

“But we’re not going to panic, we’ve still got some time.”