LEE BRADBURY cannot wait to get started as Eastbourne Borough’s new manager and has issued a rallying cry to fans.

The former AFC Bournemouth boss parted ways with Havant & Waterlooville at the end of April, having guided the Hawks from the Isthmian Premier to the National League in his seven-year tenure at Westleigh Park.

And Bradbury, who has more than 500 football league appearances to his name, is relishing the challenge ahead at Priory Lane where he succeeds interim boss Mark McGhee.

The former Manchester City, Portsmouth and Bournemouth frontman said: “It’s a job that came up and was obviously of interest to me. At the interview, I was very impressed by the board and the directors and I am very excited to be here.

“Having played and managed for the last decade, I like to think I am experienced but still young. Having managed 350 games at this level or above, I welcome the new challenge that awaits and can’t wait to get going.

“We won back-to-back championships at Havant, and this year was very tough – especially being one of only two part-time clubs at that level.

“The gap between the National League and the National League south is bigger than I originally thought, and it was very testing.

“However, as a manager I have learnt a lot from the experience. That’s gone now, and I move on to this exciting new challenge.”

The Hawks suffered relegation from the top tier of non-league football this term after a battling campaign.

Havant will be in National League south this term, as will Aldershot Town, Maidstone United and Braintree – all of whom also suffered relegation last season and will all be keen to bounce back at the first attempt.

That means that there will be a few full-time sides making up the numbers in Borough’s division, and the 43-year-old knows that the task ahead of him will not be easy.

He added: “The league this season will be a very tough challenge. A lot of clubs will be looking to get promoted, but the aim for us will be to try and get as high as we can up the table.

“I want to put smiles on faces in the crowd. I want supporters to know I want to put together a team that is very hard working.

“It’s getting the mix right between senior players and younger faces, and learning to play in the right areas of the pitch.

“As long as you come off the pitch knowing you’ve done what you could and given 100% then you can’t ask for more, and that is what I’ll be wanting from my players.

“For a club of Eastbourne’s side and stature, I think where they finished this year is probably not acceptable, and I feel that we can do better this season.

“We have to be pushing for the top ten and see where we go from there.”

And Bradbury recognises the importance of the community spirit at the Sports, who have won the National League Community Club of the Year in recent years.

He said: “I want to attract fans through the gate and get the feel of the community club that this is.

“Managing for me isn’t just about the first team, it’s about growing the club on and off the pitch.

“It doesn’t mean that I won’t be helping out in the younger age groups and help pushing community schemes, as these incentives can help the first team be a success.”

Bradbury added: “I am lucky enough to know what majority of the squad are capable of, having played against them the last few years.

“I will speak to them all individually to see if they are still hungry and do whatever it takes to be successful.

“If they don’t, then they will move on. I only want people who want to wear the badge with pride and push this club forward.”

And Bradbury issued a rallying cry to Borough supporters ahead of what promises to be a busy pre-season schedule.

“We need to all pull in the same direction,” he said.

“I need the supporters to get right behind me and the team.

“Everyone is in this together, and the more people that get behind us the easier it will be to take the club forward to where we want to be.”