Tooting & Mitcham United boss Frank Wilson is gunning for the top of the Ryman Division South, but he will have to do it without his talismanic midfielder Chace O’Neill.

The 23-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur trainee is on trial at a National League side as he takes a step back towards league football.

Wilson, who could also lose Marcel Barrington to Margate, had nothing but the highest praise for O’Neill.

“Chace was on loan to us from Staines Town in October, and he was named fans’ player of the year which says a lot about him,” he said.

“We’re gutted about losing him because he is a phenomenal talent, who should be playing at Football League level, it’s just a shame he’s leaving us.

“Chace has said that if it goes wrong and the trial does not work out, he will come back to us.

“He joined Staines from Tottenham, and sort of lost his way a bit when the manager was not selecting him.

“I think being with us gave him a new lease of life.”

Wilson added: “Marcel [Barrington] is on trial at Margate, but we don’t know what is happening there at the moment.”

The squad now stands at 14, and Wilson wants to increase that to 18 or 20, making the most of the new U18 and U21 teams at Imperial Fields.

He said: “The ambition is there to do well this season, and keep up the good form we showed from October until the end of last season.

“We should have the squad all ready to go so we’re not starting from scratch like last season.”

The Terrors kick off their pre-season campaign on Saturday with a team-bonding trip to face Barnsley U21s, before home games against Kingstonian (July 23), Barnet XI (July 26), Crystal Palace XI (August 2) and Dulwich Hamlet (August 5), plus a trip to Colliers Wood on August 9.

The league fixtures come out on August 16.