What can end the Rocks' rut ahead of tough week on road?
The Rocks have gone back to basics to try to shore up their leaky defence '“ and remain convinced their poor run of results will end if they keep working hard.
Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to Chippenham was their third straight defeat and left them without a league win in their past nine matches.
And it doesn’t look like getting any easier as they face the prospect of an eight-day period in which they will go to Truro for their longest trip of the season, League Two side Crawley in the Sussex Senior Cup and National South leaderd Braintree.
But manager Jack Pearce and coach Darin Killpartrick insist the whole squad are putting in extra effort at training and are determined to cut out the defensive mistakes costing them dear and to increase their quality in the final third.
Fans are becoming increasingly unsettled over the team’s form and some want Pearce to bring in a new manager but there are no plans to at present.
The club have moved to solve their goal shortage by signing Ferdinand Takyi, a 6ft 4in striker from Germany, who will make huis debut at Truro on Saturday and who bosses hope will combine well with their other recent recruit Ibra Sekajja, who scored his first Rocks goal last weekend.
The Rocks have also signed Whitehawk winger/forward Connor Tighe for a second Nyewood Lane loan spell. But young forward Jimmy Wild has decided to leave the Rocks. He had struggled to pin down a regular starting spot.
Takyi moved to England several years ago and played for Banstead. He moved to Latvia to join FK Spartaks and played for them in the Latvian top division and the Europa League.
Returning to Germany last season, he played for FC Oberneuland, who play at the same level as Bognor, scoring 13 goals in 14 games.
He came back to England and had various trials with Football League clubs and played once for West Brom under-23s.
Bognor have moved to solve their full-back crisis by signing left-back Archie Edwards on loan from Charlton, as reported on this website on Thursday.
The 20-year-old has been at Charlton since he was 13 and is now captain of their under-23 team. He has played for England’s under-16s and under-17s and is described by Charlton’s website as ‘strong in the tackle and possessing a fearless mindset’.
Boss Pearce said the spirit in the camp remained very good and they hoped the new arrivals would boost their form.
“Against Chippenham, for the first 25 minutes, you’d not have known we were the team struggling for results. We dominated possession and played good, passing football. But the last thing we did in the final third was never good enough.
“Then they scored the first goal and psychology comes into it. And when we then let in another two early in the second half, it was game over.
“The hardest thing to do in football is to score goals and we know we can’t giving ourselves two or three a game to score to pick up results. We recognise we have defensive vulnerability and have to defend better as a team.”
Coach Killpartrick worked specifically on defending at training on Tuesday and said going back to football’s basics was sometimes necessary.
“The players are showing good intensity and good attitude. We split the groups on Tuesday and I worked solely on defence – stripped things back. You have to pick at your faults and try to rectify them.
“I genuinely believe we can get out of this run. We might need a bit of luck to start with but we can cut out the errors and start scoring goals. We are all absolutely determined to start getting results.”
The coming week will test a squad still without centre-half Sami El-Abd, facing two more weeks out with a hamstring injury; full-back James Crane, now back in light training after a shoulder injury, and – this Saturday – suspended utility man Harvery Whyte and midfielder Dan Beck, who is away.
Beck and Whyte should both be back for the Crawley trip but with left-back Kristian Campbell recalled by Bromley after the Rocks’ defeat to Chippenham, it left Calvin Davies as the only full-back available to face Truro ... until Edwards was signed.
Pearce said: “The lads are working hard but the balance isn’t right. We have high hopes for Ferdinand, who’s an out and out striker.
“It’s a difficult week ahead of us but I know many supporters will be at these games and we really, really appreciate that. Anything we can pick up points-wise will be nice.”
Killpartrick said: “We’re in the middle of a run of six games out of seven being away from home and when you have long trips and midweek games among them it’s tough on players and staff who have day jobs and families. We hope the supporters stick with us.”
The Rocks wished Wild well, Pearce adding: “We’d like to thank him for his service to the club. Hopefully he will go on and do well and maybe one day he will come back to us, but I didn’t feel he had the presence needed to be first-choice for us at the moment.”