THE ROCKS keep on winning - but keep on picking up injuries that could yet derail their promotion bid.
The latest victory was a 3-1 triumph at Canvey Island - but with it came another potentially-serious injury, a suspected broken toe suffered by top scorer Terry Dodd.
If a break is confirmed it is likely to rule him out for four to five weeks, meaning he would miss most of the hectic run-in that’s set to see Bognor go for league and cup glory with 12 games in five weeks, starting at Bury Town this Saturday.
Dodd’s injury cast a shadow over one of the team’s best performances of the season in Essex - on a night when the squad was already stretched to the limit, meaning they had to name coach Darin Killpartrick and two unfit players among their four subs.
The club are considering bringing in one or two loanees before the end-of-March transfer deadline but are anxious not to introduce new faces unless they have to into a squad who know exactly how the management want them to play.
Manager Jamie Howell praised the players for following up Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Leiston with the win at Canvey.
“We were sensational for the first 40 minutes and should have wrapped it up in that time. Canvey are a good side but in the first half we limited them and had control,” he said.
“In the second half, when it was 2-1 and Canvey had a go, we were resolute and defended superbly. Our keeper Grant Smith and centre-halves Stuey Axten and Craig Robson have been out of this world lately - though that’s doing a dis-service to the full-backs and Dan Sackman, who have all done everything asked of them.
“Although we were frustrated at drawing 0-0 with Leiston when we looked the only side likely to win, it still means we’ve taken 13 points from 15 so far this month, which you can’t argue with.”
Howell also had praise for midfield duo Doug Tuck and Scott Chamberlain for covering the absence of ankle-injury victim Kane Wills, the captain, against Leiston and Dulwich.
And he said despite another injury setback, this time to Dodd, he hoped the squad could keep going.
“Terry is having an X-ray and if the toe is broken, he’s looking at four to five weeks out. But we have Ollie Pearce and Dan Thompson, while Ashley Harris will be fit again soon and Harvey Whyte can play in a forward role too.
“If we need to bring people in loan, we will, but it’s not ideal so late in the season and not easy to arrange, The players we have know how we play and it’s easier to go with them if we can.”
The Canvey win moved the Rocks up to fourth but they are just a point behind second-placed Maidstone with three games in hand. The title looks Wealdstone’s to lose but few would argue all four play-off places are up for grabs.
The Rocks’ fixture congestion could yet hit them and they have now arranged their Sussex Senior Cup semi-final againsat Horsham YMCA for Monday, April 7, at Sussex FA HQ at Lancing.
At Bury on Saturday, Wills is likely still to be missing - while another midfielder, Dan Kempson, has signed on dual forms with county league Littlehampton to get games under his belt.
Harris should be over a hamstring tear while Thompson - who missed out at Canvey through illness - should also be available.
Keeper Grant Smith’s month’s loan ends after the Bury game but the Rocks, who also entertain Kingstonian on Tuesday, hope Brighton will extend it.
Get the first report from the Bury Town and Kingstonian games on this website.