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Millwall defender Okoli determined to boost Bromley’s National League promotion prospects


Chin Okoli is determined to help Bromley build on their record finish in the National League last season.

The Ravens finished seventh and beat Woking to set up a play-off semi-final tie at Chesterfield, agonisingly being edged out 3-2 after extra time.

With heavy-hitters Wrexham and Notts County winning promotion to League Two, it looks more of an even playing field.

Bromley kick off their season at FC Halifax Town tomorrow, intent on gaining promotion to the EFL for the first time in their history.

Millwall defender Chin Okoli, who has joined on a six-month loan, is looking to make an immediate impact.

“I hope to start fast and prove myself to the fans,’ the 19-year-old told the South London Press.

“Hopefully, I can prove the gaffer right in wanting to sign me for the team.

“The move came about from the strong links Millwall have with Bromley. They have been watching me for a while and they see a lot in me – they want me to grow and express myself.

“My Millwall coaches know and trust the staff here.”

Okoli played against Bromley for Millwall’s U21 side before turning out for the Ravens just three days later as a trialist in a win over Dartford.

‘I think I gave a good account of myself in that game, so it maybe pushed the move over the line,’ said the centre-back, who is Lewisham-raised and joined the Lions at the age of 11 .

Woodman handed Okoli the captaincy in his first start since signing his initial six-month loan deal from Millwall, as Bromley fell to a 2-1 friendly defeat at League Two side Crawley Town last weekend.

“It was surreal,” admitted Okoli, who also skippered and scored the winning goal for Kevin Nugent’s Millwall U21 side in their Professional Development League national play-off final win over Sheffield United in May.

“I had to take it in. But after a few minutes, I said to myself: ‘It’s time to work now – it’s a normal game. Just lead the lads out and set an example’.”

Bromley has become a productive stop-off for Millwall youngsters in recent years, with Besart Topalloj and Alex Mitchell both making the switch.

“I spoke with Bes as soon as I heard from my coaches at Millwall about Bromley’s interest,” said Okoli.

“It’s always good to get a second opinion on a club, and it will always be different coming from a player who you have played with.

“Bes said: ‘It’s a top club with a top staff,’ and since I have joined, I 100 per cent agree with him.

“I’m looking to do well and make a name for myself – so everyone knows my style of play and what I can bring to the table.”

This is Okoli’s second stint away from The Den. He had a spell last year with Torquay United, making three appearances on a 28-day youth loan.

“I learned that men’s football isn’t always pretty,” he said. “There are a lot of downsides to football. Maybe you’re not playing as much as you want to, or it’s how you bounce back from mistakes.”

Former Crystal Palace and Newcastle United goalkeeping coach Woodman has been in charge at Bromley since April 2021, winning the FA Trophy at Hayes Lane and reaching the National League play-offs twice.

“He has very high standards,” said Okoli. “He wants the team to get up the league – he wants promotion. That’s his ultimate goal.

“The gaffer and the senior players are driving the standards daily to try and make the team better than last year. I can 100 per cent feel that. Everyone is ready to get going and to make history.”

Dulwich Hamlet have signed defender Miquel Scarlett.

The 22-year-old had a short spell with the club in the early part of the 2021-22 season.

Scarlett spent last season with Eastbourne Borough.

“It’s a big thing for me to be able to play in front of so many fans,’ he said. “I hope they enjoy watching me play and think I bring something to the team.

“I played here last year with Eastbourne and just thought  ‘wow’, they’re brilliant.”

Hamlet have also added centre-back Manny Parry, who previously worked with manager Hakan Hayrettin at Braintree Town.

The 29-year-old was with Welling United in the previous campaign.

Dulwich start their Isthmian League Premier season at Hashtag United on August 12.

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