Sutton United boss Paul Doswell reckons there is a chance striker Sam Gargan may return to the club to spearhead its Ryman League Premier Division campaign.

The 21-year-old had gone to ground since Sutton’s play-off semi-final defeat to Kingstonian, leaving the Gander Green Lane chief to believe he had called time on his United career.

Gargan has been in Spain for the last month with family, but returned this week to a flood of telephone messages regarding his whereabouts and plans for the coming campaign.

In that time Doswell has signed Richard Jolly and Craig Dundas - rubberstamped over the weekend after Hampton did not retain his services - to create a strike force to be reckoned with.

Gargan is expected to trial with League Two Port Vale this summer in the hopes of securing a return to the professional ranks after leaving Brighton & Hove Albion.

But Doswell has not given up hope on the youngster plying his trade for Sutton next season.

“Sam came back from Spain with about 200 messages on his mobile and immediately got in touch. I thought he’d gone,” he said.

“His going to trial, but he has agreed to join us if things don’t work out for him this summer on the understanding that if a club from a high level comes in for him he will go.

“If he comes back and makes a success of himself again of course, he will go with our blessing. That is how we work and here is still some space in the budget to make it happen.

“We’ll have quite a few strikers, but in all honesty Craig can play anyway from midfield, to wide right, to up front.”

Crisis club Crystal Palace will be the first visitors to Gander Green Lane ahead of the coming campaign as they were unveiled as the opening fixture inm Doswell’s pre-season programme.

Sutton will also play Worthing, Havant & Waterlooville and Met Police before closing with UEFA Europa League finalists Fulham as part of the deal that took Stefan Payne to Craven Cottage last season.

“With all the problems at Palace, they were struggling to organise pre-season friendlies,” added Doswell.

“Dougie Freedman rang us and asked if we could accomodate a first team game, so we are expecting a strong team from them.

“I thought we had too many friendlies last year so we have scaled things down. Fulham is the big one for us.”