BOGNOR’S season could be about to go a deeper shade of Green.
They believe striker Stuart Green – who has played in their only two wins to date – could be the man to spark their campaign into life.
Green is on dual registration with the Rocks and Gosport Borough, and has been on loan to Moneyfields, but Nyewood Lane boss Jamie Howell is hoping to make his Bognor connection more permanent.
And if his performances in the 2-1 wins over VCD last week and at Billericay on Tuesday night are anything to go by, that can only be good news for a team struggling to click into gear.
Green had a hand in the goals scored by Ben Johnson and Alex Parsons that earned the Rocks their first away win of the season and lifted them out of the Ryman premier’s bottom four.
Another addition to the squad Howell believes will have a crucial part to play is Josh Warren, back for his second spell at the Lane following injury problems and his release by Pompey.
The win at Billericay followed an uninspiring 1-0 home defeat to East Thurrock – in which the hosts had just four shots on target – that left fans fearful a season of struggle ahead.
Howell said Green had made a huge difference to the team in the two games he’d played in.
“He gives us a lot of pace, stretches defenders and relieves the pressure on others in the team,” Howell said.
“We’ve been pleased to have him available and I think he’s enjoying being with us. Gosport have been very good about it and we’re hoping to have him available on a more regular or permanent basis.
“We’re pleased with how Ollie Pearce and Alex Parsons have been doing up front – they’ve both been scoring – but they need help and they will certainly get that from Stuart.”
Warren will play for Bognor while looking out for other opportunities higher up the football pyramid, and that’s fine by Howell.
“Josh needs to play regularly. He was out for a long time with a cruciate injury then got released by Pompey.
“He played 70 minutes at Billericay and was excellent. He can play at full-back or in the centre of defence, which is just what we need.”
Warren is set to deputise in the next few games for skipper Paul Hinshelwood, who is awaiting an op on a knee problem and faces six weeks out.
Other injury problems have been hitting the midfield options as Bognor build up to their FA Cup first qualifying round tie at home to Lewes on Saturday.
Charlie Oatway suffering a medial ligament problem that makes him touch and go for the tie while Jake Thomson has been playing through a bout of tendonitis which means his appearances have to be managed carefully.
Thomson won praise for his performance at Billericay, with he and Parsons having what many reckoned were their best games yet for the club.
Left-back Harry Medway has an ankle problem and will also be banned for the trip to Grays next Saturday following his red card –for two bookings – against East Thurrock.
Howell and coach Darin Killpartrick are looking forward to his team’s FA Cup appearance. As ever the club are hoping for a money-spinning run in a competition in which they have not got close to the first round proper for many years.
Killpartrick said: “I should imagine it will be fairly spicy – it normally is in a Sussex derby in the Cup.
“It’s a one-off game and means a lot to both sides.
“The financial side of a Cup run is so important to a club like ours. We’ll be doing everything in our power to make it happen this season.”
Next Tuesday the Rocks host Tonbridge in the league – unless either team are involved in an FA Cup replay.
Get first news of the FA Cup tie on this website on Saturday