Bognor aim for big finish - but injuries continue to hit
The Rocks want to finish the season with a flourish after one of their poorest home performances of recent times – but the ever-problematic injury list is not helping them.
Fans were upset at a display well below par in Saturday’s Nyewood Lane meeting with bottom side Harlow that ended 1-1 thanks to a Jimmy Wild equaliser they scarcely deserved.
That spelled the end of their play-off hopes but they have three league games left – and more importantly the Sussex Senior Cup final against Burgess Hill at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday, May 7.
The latest injury setback comes with the loss for the rest of the season of midfielder Theo Widdrington, who has confirmed he broke his wrist in last Saturday’s game. He joins defender Calvin Davies and striker Jimmy Muitt among players not likely to be seen again this campaign.
Manager Jack Pearce is trying to balance managing the squad through the rest of this season with looking at players who can give the Rocks a stronger look in 2019-20.
He said: “Theo’s injury is a blow to him and to us and is typical of how it’s gone this season. He’s another we won’t see again this season and with others either definitely out or playing through problems, it leaves us very short of options. And if you haven’t got options for the bench, you haven’t got players looking over their shoulders knowing they need to play well to keep their places.”
Defender Keaton Wood is still struggling with the ankle problem that kept him out for five months and cannot currently play in every game, while winger Mason Walsh cannot train in between games.
After the insipid effort against Harlow, Pearce is hoping his players can produce an upbeat end to the campaign, but knows the two Easter games will both be tough.
“We go to Dorking on Saturday and although they are already champions, they won’t be taking it easy from now on. Then we have Whitehawk coming to us on Easter Monday and they are fighting for their lives at the bottom. It will be a very hard game.”
After that just a trip to Folkestone remains in the league – then a ten-day break precedes the county cup final, in which Bognor will be looking to land the trophy for the first time since 1987.
In addition to the injured players, they will be without cup-tied trio Joe Tomlinson, Ed Sanders and Reece Meekums for the final.
Pearce assured fans asking about plans for next season that the search for players was well under way, and in fact never really stopped.
“We will need to bring in some new players and we will see some leave, I’m sure. We need to change the environment of the dressing room.”