Happy Christmas for the Rocks – but there’s hard work ahead

Stuart Green (left of picture) celebrates his goal versus Enfield with his team-mates  Picture by Tommy McMillan
Stuart Green (left of picture) celebrates his goal versus Enfield with his team-mates Picture by Tommy McMillan

IT’S a pretty happy Christmas at Nyewood Lane – but Rocks bosses are warning of a real battle to make 2015 a success.

Bognor head into the festive fixtures among a pack of clubs chasing the play-offs after continuing their superb run of home form with a 2-1 triumph over Enfield at the weekend.

Their fifth straight home victory leaves them just two points off the play-off zone but in a tight table, it would take only a couple of poor results to put them back in the bottom half.

Manager Jamie Howell is delighted his team keep on winning but he said the squad was looking ‘bare’ and efforts to strengthen it were proving difficult.

Striker Jason Prior’s loan spell from Margate ends on January 7 while cente-half Craig Robson will miss the first two games of the new year against Peacehaven and Leatherhead and winger Ben Johnson’s knee problems look like needing surgery.

All that leaves the management with very little strength in depth ahead of the crucial start to the new year when the team have a chance to cement a place among the play-off chasers.

Howell said: “I was delighted with Saturday’s result. It showed we can win when things don’t click like they had in our past couple of home games. Sometimes you need to grind out a win and that’s what we did.

“We can be happy with where we are in the table but while we’d like to have a good go at getting in the play-offs, it won’t be easy. We don’t have enough depth. We’re trying to bring in players but it’s not happening.

“We’ve made big strides in the past three months and I can enjoy my Christmas dinner a lot more than might have been the case. But there’s hard work ahead of us.”

The Rocks have two Sussex derbies to look forward to over the holiday – they go to Lewes tomorrow (Saturday) and host Peacehaven on New Year’s Day.

Howell said the FA Cup defeat to Lewes in September would have no bearing on what should prove a close game at the Dripping Pan. Lewes have had a tough season and are 20th but have a good record at home to the Rocks.

Full-back James Crane – scorer of the winner against Enfield – is a doubt with stitches in his foot and Johnson may not be risked again before surgery.

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