Lethbridge can reach his Pompey goal - and help Bognor get theirs too

Brad Lethbridge on the charge for the Rocks in their recent win over Haringey / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Brad Lethbridge on the charge for the Rocks in their recent win over Haringey / Picture by Tommy McMillan

The Rocks hope Brad Lethbridge’s first senior Pompey goal can inspire him to great things at Nyewood Lane - and help them build on the back-to-back home wins that have changed the complexion of their season.

Teenage forward Lethbridge was on target for the Blues in their 2-2 Football League Trophy draw at Oxford United on Tuesday night, but is expected back in the Bognor squad when they host Potters Bar on Saturday.

It’s a chance for a third straight home win for Jack Pearce and Robbie Blake’s team after victories over Haringey and Leatherhead lifted the Nye Camp gloom last week.

Success at Pompey for Lethbridge, who is in his second season on loan at Bognor, is a double-edged sword for the Rocks. While the club and fans will be pleased to see him making his mark at Pompey, there will be worries that progress with his parent club could cut short his Rocks stay.

But for now at least, Rocks management believe he will be available to them for most games - including Potters Bar on Saturday. The same goes for left-back Joe Hanoctt, who has just begun a loan spell with Bognor and who started for the Blues at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium.

Rocks boss Pearce said: “It’s great to see Brad get his first senior goal for Pompey. They do give lots of chances to their younger players in that competition, and it was also pleasing to see Joe Hancott start.

“It will do the development of both players the power of good.”

Lethbridge is again likely to join Dan Smith - scorer of four goals in the 5-1 win over Leatherhead - and Jimmy Muitt in the Bognor frontline for Potters Bar’s visit for a mid-table tussle.

The only injury concern is over full-back James Crane, who has a calf problem that is being monitored.

Long-term casualties Calvin Davies and Chad Field are due to have surgery on their knee injuries this month but there are no other new knocks to report from the Bognor treatment room.

New loan keeper Myles Roberts is expected to make his debut, albeit a couple of weeks later than planned. He picked up an injury after initially being recruited from Reading to replace young stopper Petar Durin, who has gone back to Pompey.

But now he is fit he has joined up with the Rocks – with James Holden, the other Reading keeper Bognor borrowed in the meantime, who played against Haringey and Leatherhead, ironically now also having picked up an injury after signing for Bracknell.

The Rocks will go into Saturday’s game high on confidence after the two wins that have taken them from the bottom three to 12th spot in the Isthmian premier, two places and three points below Saturday’s visitors.

But Pearce is warning that good runs can turn into bad ones just as quickly as poor spells can be forgotten.

“Two wins have certainly resulted in a better atmosphere about the place but things can change quickly either way, so we need to work hard and focus on keeping the winning run going,” he said.

“Like all games in this division, the Potters Bar game will be difficult. They’ve had a good start to the season and are still in the FA Cup.

“We never thought we were bad as our results were suggesting we were. But equally, we’re not suddenly going to believe after a couple of wins we’ve got it all worked out.

“We showed against Haringey and Leatherhead we could score goals, defend well and win games. Now we have to keep up those standards every week.”

Tuesday’s league visit to Bowers and Pitsea is off because the Essex club are allowed a match-free midweek ahead of their FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie against Chichester City on Saturday week.