Rocks Review: There’s no pressure on promotion chasers

Kane Wills' strike is on its way in for the Rocks' third against Hythe  Picture by Tommy McMillan

Kane Wills' strike is on its way in for the Rocks' third against Hythe Picture by Tommy McMillan

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DARIN KILLPARTICK insists there’s not a single bit of pressure on the promotion-chasing Rocks players.

The joint boss says he and Jamie Howell are working hard to keep the team away from talk of the title race and are letting them get on with the job of enjoying their football.

So far the tactic is working: Saturday’s comfortable 3-0 win at home to Hythe was their eighth win in their past ten league games.

That kept them in top spot with six games to go – although Dulwich Hamlet and Whitehawk both won as well to remain hot on their heels.

This Saturday they go to Crawley Down with Killpartrick insisting their approach won’t change just because the end of the season, and the possibility of promotion, is getting ever closer.

The club have been boosted by news that experienced utility player Ben Andrews has signed a contract to keep him at the Lane until the end of next season – a move the bosses hope to convince other key players to follow in the coming weeks.

The injury front is also looking brighter, with striker Steve Harper set to be fit for at least a sub’s place at Crawley Down and no new problems reported.

Killpartrick was pleased by the no-nonsense nature of the Hythe win, which came thanks to three goals from midfield as Harvey Whyte, James Crane and Kane Wills hit the target.

The joint manager said: “Once we got into our stride and into the lead we were fine. We knew we’d get chances, we just needed to make sure we took them.

“The players are doing exactly what we ask of them at the moment.

“We don’t want to put pressure on them – in fact as managers, we are deliberately taking any pressure on ourselves and leaving the players to go out, enjoy their football and play as we know they can.”

Killpartrick felt having new players in the team who weren’t around last year – when the Rocks missed the title and automatic promotion by one goal – was an advantage, as the squad did not, as a group, have the near-miss in their minds.

He expects another battle at Crawley Down, who play on one of the division’s poorer pitches.

“We beat them well early in the season but they’ve invested and done well. The pitch will be a leveller.”

The Rocks may add a couple of youngsters to the squad before Saturday’s transfer deadline.