Rocks Review: Ex-Charlton striker on radar as goal hunt goes on

Harvey Whyte shoots for goal against Grays but the Rocks are keen to add firepower to the squad  Picture by Tommy McMillan

Harvey Whyte shoots for goal against Grays but the Rocks are keen to add firepower to the squad Picture by Tommy McMillan

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The Rocks will run the rule over a potential new striker tonight as they bid to make sure the start of their season is not undermined by a recurrence of last season’s lack of goals.

Ex-Croydon, Whitehawk and Lewes forward Ben Godfrey, who was on Charlton’s books as a teenager, will train with the Rocks tonight and may join the Nyewood Lane squad if a deal suits both parties.

It is the club’s latest move in their ongoing battle to add to their options up front – after the need for firepower was shown up in their opening-day 3-0 home defeat to Grays.

Harvey Whyte found his shooting boots at Wealdstone on Monday with a quickfire double that earned the Rocks their first point in a 2-2 draw.

But manager Jamie Howell knows he needs more goals from somewhere.

They spent much of the summer hoping Dan Thompson would return to the Lane after a successful spell last season but the former Pompey youngster has decided to return to their Ryman premier rivals Hampton & Richmond, where he started out.

Howell said: “We’re working hard to get someone in. It’s great to see Harvey scoring – he will always create chances, for himself and others – but my concern is how many goals we have in the present squad.

“We plan to have a look at Ben Godfrey tonight and see what happens.”

Saturday’s loss mirrored many games in which the Rocks struggled last season: they started brightly and created chances, but let their heads drop when none went in and then conceded some soft goals.

Howell and coach Darin Killpartrick vowed to put in extra work on the training ground – both on finishing and defending – but are not panicking and have seen plenty to be positive about.

That was particularly so at highly-fancied Wealdstone, where the Rocks battled back from 2-0 down to claim a point.

Whyte’s displays have been pleasing, as have those of new winger Arron Hopkinson, another ex-Lewes player.

Howell said: “He has lots of pace but is still quite raw. He’s been great so far for us. He’s not the finished article yet but gives us a good attacking option.” The Rocks are aware they need to be stronger at the back, but feel that with Stuart Axten gradually working his way back to 100 per cent effectiveness and new boys Dan Sackman and Craig Robson settling in, they will be harder to break down.

One worry is a lack of cover at left-back.

Daryl Wollers has had a scan this week on a long-standing groin problem and is expected to undergo surgery soon.

That leaves James Crane as his obvious understudy at No3 but he is often needed in midfield – especially now Charlie Oatway has elected not to play for the Rocks – so Howell and Co are looking for a specialist left-back.

Meanwhile, Kane Wills has promised his focus is firmly on Bognor and recent interest from Crawley has not distracted him.

Manager Howell praised Wills’ attitude and said: “He’s still our captain and he’s been brilliant. His head’s not been turned.”

The Rocks head to another of the promotion favourites, Lowestoft, on Saturday before hosting Carshalton on Tuesday.

STEVE BONE

Read more from Kane Wills on this website tomorrow