Rocks on a roll as Brighton striker boosts options

Jason Prior about to net the third against East Grinstead / Picture by Tim Hale
Jason Prior about to net the third against East Grinstead / Picture by Tim Hale

JAMIE HOWELL is confident the Rocks can continue their winning form during another hectic month of fixtures – but is keen to add to the squad to help them do so.

October saw the Rocks win three and draw one in the league and win two out of three in their FA Cup and FA Trophy campaigns.

Now they are braced for another seven-game month which will include a Sussex Senior Cup tie and the next round of the Trophy.

The Rocks have been fairly fortunate with injuries so far and will hope that trend continues for a squad not over-blessed with numbers.

Midfielder Gary Charman has moved to Lewes while one of the club’s promising youngsters, Jamie Horncastle, has joined Chichester City on dual-registration terms.

Bognor have on Friday morning confirmed the signing of 20-year-old Brighton centre-forward Chike Kandi. He has joined on loan, initially for a month, to widen their attacking options.

Howell revealed they were on the lookout for one or two others who could add something to the squad.

After a four-match FA Cup run which earned the club £15,000, they are now hoping for similar success in the Trophy. Saturday’s 3-0 first qualifying round win over East Grinstead made them £2,700 and they now face a trip to Southern League side Taunton in the next round on November 14.

This weekend, the Ryman premier campaign comes back into focus with a sixth-versus-third clash against Canvey Island at Nyewood Lane.

Southern Combination division-one side Langney visit in the second round of the Sussex Senior Cup next Tuesday.

Howell said he was pleased with the team’s progress and form and added: “It was quite a comfortable win against East Grinstead and I went to see our next opponents Taunton when they won their replay at Dorking on Tuesday night. It’s a long trip and they’ll give us a difficult game.

“We’ve done well in the knockout competitions so far. Our FA Cup run showed we could compete with teams playing at a higher level and now it would be nice to get through a few rounds in the Trophy.

“It is giving us a lot of games, including quite a few rearranged away matches, but you don’t mind that when things are going well.

“If we can keep playing well and winning games as we are at the moment, we should relish these challenges.”

Howell said he was disappointed to see midfielder Charman leave and thanked him for the service he had given in his three months at Bognor, but said he had been unable to guarantee him regular starts.

“I’d like to bring some players in but it’s difficult. We only want to sign players who will add quality to the squad, and it’s hard to get players in if you can’t guarantee them games,” said Howell.

“The players who are in our team at the moment deserve to be starting every week although there are those who shouldn’t be asked to play every game, especially the younger ones.”

Howell is expecting an entertaining tussle with high-flying Canvey on Saturday. The sides drew 1-1 in Essex a week into the season and both are in fine form.

The manager said: “They weren’t really one of the fancied sides at the start of the season but they are on a strong run.”

Forward Stuart Green has been told there is no major problem with his back but it is still sore. He is set to get a run-out in next Tuesday’s county cup game, when the Rocks will be without Sami El-Abd and Craig Robson, both suspended for totting up five bookings. The likes of Lloyd Rowlatt and Jordan Warren may also get call-ups.

Meanwhile, the latest league matches to be rearranged because of cup and trophy games causing postponements will see the Rocks travel to Hampton & Richmond on Tuesday, December 1 and Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday, January 12.


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