Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Billy Collings is joining the Rooks, where he will battle it out with Nathan Stroomberg for the number 1 shirt next season.
Last season’s goalkeeper, Lewis Carey, has decided to leave the club over the summer, leaving big gloves to fill. Now manager Darren Freeman wants the two young goalkeepers to battle it out for the place in between the sticks.
Collings began his career at Reading, before moving to our Premier League neighbours in 2017. During his time with the pro clubs, he’s had loan spells at then Isthmian League Hendon and Conference club Dartford. The 21-year-old certainly fills the goal, standing 6ft 5in tall.
Collings will be vying for his first-team place with Nathan Stroomberg. Nathan made his Rooks debut as far back as the opening game of the 2015-16 season and has become our regular Development Squad stopper in recent seasons. He’s also been out gathering valuable senior football experience at County League clubs such as Hassocks and Saltdean Utd, and Darren and assistant manager Ross Standen now wants the 21-year-old keeper to make the step up and push for a regular first-team spot.
Speaking of his new signing, Darren Freeman said: “He’s a big lad, but he’s got good feet and he’s a very decent shot-stopper. I want him to come in and for him and Nathan to spur each other on and compete for the first-team shirt.
“We’ve been watching Nathan’s progress closely and he’s matured as a goalkeeper after his loan spell with Saltdean last season. He’s grown in stature since he first made his debut and he didn’t let us down when called upon at Guernsey the season before last. Now it’s time for Nathan to push on.”
Billy told us he’s looking forward to the challenge of senior football next season, having got a taste for the Dripping Pan when he played against us for Brighton last season in the Sussex Senior Cup. “I want to challenge myself playing in men’s football,” said Billy. “Development Squad football isn’t so much about the result, it’s about your performance and development. Men’s football is a lot more about the result and it’s more physical.”
Collings has “played in a couple of tournaments” with newly re-signed midfielder James Hammond, but says he’ll have to get to know the rest of the squad. We’re sure he’ll be made very welcome when we kick off our pre-season against FC United of Manchester on July 13.