Reading keeper signs for Bognor on loan - Havant and Pompey youngsters may follow

Joe Hancott in action for Pompey against Norwich U21s / Picture: Joe Pepler
Joe Hancott in action for Pompey against Norwich U21s / Picture: Joe Pepler

Bosses Jack Pearce and Robbie Blake have moved to bolster the Bognor squad with the recruitment of Reading keeper Myles Roberts -- with the prospect of the arrival of at least two other new faces.

The Rocks have endured a miserable start to their season and sit third from the bottom of the Isthmian Premier Division and suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup at Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday.

Coach Blake gave an impassioned post-match interview following the loss in which he said that new faces needed to come in -- and that if this wasn't possible he would have to consider his position at the club.

Action has been taken this week with the signing of Roberts on loan from the Championship outfit. The custodian has just completed a successful loan period at Vanarama National Leaguer South side Tonbridge Angels. And it was their manager, Steve McKimm, who recommended him to Bognor. In the five matches he played, Roberts twice won the man-of-the-match award.

Another loanee coming in is central defender Joe Cook from Havant & Waterlooville, with the club in advanced talks to recruit him. He has played for the Hawks' first team this season, and has also enjoyed a successful loan period at Winchester City.

The Rocks are also understood to be on the verge of snapping up attacking full-back Joe Hancott on loan from Portsmouth. He became Pompey's youngest first team player when he played 90 minutes against Fulham in August 2017, aged just 16.

Manager Pearce confirmed: "We clearly need to improve the squad and we've taken some significant steps to do that. But rest assured we are still looking to bring in more players. We need competition for places, it's essential, and if we can get that hopefully we can turn around the recent spell of poor form and poor results."

Some supporters have questioned the number of loan players at the club -- but the Rocks are well within their rights to bring in loanees. General manager Simon Cook explained: "FA rules only permit us to name five on the teamsheet. With these three, together with Ben Clark-Eden and Brad Lethbridge, we will have five. We also have Joe Dandy still registered on loan from Portsmouth but he is not expected to have recovered from his injury for some time yet.

"Yes, in a perfect world we would want more of our own players and less of a reliance on loan players, but it is fair to say that we have had great success with many loan players in the past; players such as Dan Smith, Brad Lethbridge and Joe Tomlinson being good examples. Robbie and Jack have been working extremely hard on player recruitment and they do have their eyes on another potential signing who would not be a loan player.

"With the arrival of Myles Roberts, Petar Durin has returned to Portsmouth and the club are extremely grateful to him for his commitment to Bognor and to Portsmouth for their generosity in loaning him to us."

Meanwhile, ex-Rocks No1 Dan Lincoln may have signed for Vanarama National Leaguer South side Hampton & Richmond last week but he is still keeping an eye out for the Rocks and as a result has recommended two players – a central defender and a forward with experience in the Football League – and the duo will be at training on Thursday night to allow Blake and Pearce to assess their suitability for joining up with the squad.