Sutton United boss Paul Doswell has moved quickly to line-up a replacement for departing centre-back Steve Perkins by taking a look at Rushden & Diamonds defender Simon Downer.

The Gander Green Lane chief will run the rule over the 28-year-old this week after Perkins decided he couldn’t commit to another season with United having been handed a promotion at work.

Downer, who played seven games for Sutton in 2008, has a history of knee problems and is looking to quit full-time football as he prepares for life outside the game.

And Doswell admits he would be only too happy to help the former Leyton Orient star make the transition.

“The deal is pretty much done and he will be a big addition to the squad for us,” he said.

“We’re taking a look at him at training this week to make sure we are happy with him, but I’d like to think he’ll be with us for the season.”

Downer’s arrival will take the number of senior players in Doswell’s squad to 14 for the coming campaign with the manager looking to supplement that with four graduates from the club’s youth amd reserve system.

The likes of Jerson Dos Santos, Jazz Gold and Andre Costa will all be given their chance during the coming campaign, although the manager says he already knows his starting 11 for the season’s opening clash.

“Things haven’t changed a great deal. I can pretty much name the starting side already,” he added.

“There will be 14 senior players and the rest will be made up of the younger players.

“They will be given their chance and it is up to them to take it.”

Sutton host Crystal Palace on Wednesday (July 14) as they kick off a truncated pre-season campaign, and Dowson has told fans not to be too concerned if a few familiar faces are missing.

“We are playing fewer friendlies this year, so we are not over cooked. The Palace match will be nothing more than a gentle run around,” he said.

“A few players like Richard Jolly and Karim El Salahi are still away on pre-araranged things, but they will be back and ready to go as soon as we properly get in to it.”

Sutton’s next three games: July 14 Crystal Palace (h), 27 Staines Town (h), 31 Worthing (a).