Jamie the juggler keeps Rocks rolling

Ollie Pearce in action for the Rocks against Enfield - next up it's a home clash with Grays / Picture by Tim Hale
Ollie Pearce in action for the Rocks against Enfield - next up it's a home clash with Grays / Picture by Tim Hale

Jamie Howell is enjoying his juggling act as he tries to keep everyone in hids squad happy – and attempts to keep the team top of the league.

The Rocks boss has allowed two members of his squad to go and play for Chichester City – and is now running the rule over one of City’s men.

It comes as Bognor benefit from a good run of luck with injuries, which has left Howell with a bigger group than usual to keep match-fit.

In allowing defender Ed Sanders and midfielder Lorenzo Dolcetti to go on dual-registration forms with Southern Combination League high-flyers Chichester, Howell stressed the duo were still very much part of the Rocks’ plans.

But he said because they were not getting into the Bognor starting line-up it was important to keep them match-fit as there was every chance they’d be needed at Nyewood Lane between now and the end of the season.

The Rocks increased their lead at the top of the Ryman premier to four points with a thumping 5-0 win at second-from-bottom Canvey Island on Saturday, with Fulham loan striker Elijah Adebayo scoring a second-half hat-trick to add to first-half strikes by James Fraser and Jimmy Muitt.

Now we have Grays at home and some may think it will be straightforward but when you start to think like that, teams will come back and bite you.

Jamie Howell

Next up is a home clash against bottom side Grays this Saturday, before Howell and coach Darin Killpartrick take the team to Burgess Hill next Tuesday.

Howell was delighted to see his side turn dominance into a hatful of goals at Canvey, something they have not always done this term.

“It was a comfortable win and I was delighted with the lads,” he said. “We scored early and then again just before half-time, and in fact could have had a third just after the second. Canvey had put us under some pressure when it was 1-0.

“When we went 3-0 up early in the second half we were comfortable and it was good to see us carry on scoring. You have to be clinical.

“Now we have Grays at home and some may think it will be straightforward but when you start to think like that, teams will come back and bite you.

“Nothing’s a foregone conclusion. We’re top and we’re playing well but there’s a lot of football to play and you can take nothing for granted.”

Adebayo won praise for his 29-minute treble, bringing his total to four goals in four games since he joined on a month’s loan from Fulham.

It also gave him the unusual feat of having scored a hat-trick for and against the same team during a season, having netted three when Slough knocked Bognor out of the FA Trophy in October.

Howell said: “Elijah has been excellent for us. He’s with us for a month initially and whether that can be extended is up in the air with Fulham, really. At the moment the arrangement would seem to suit all parties but we’ll have to see.”

Coach Killpartrick said the victory at Canvey was pleasing.

“It actually could have been 2-2 at half-time because they had a go at us but we took our chances, defended well and Dan Lincoln made some good saves when he needed to,” said Killpartrick.

“We treated that game as though it was first versus second and will do the same at home to Grays on Saturday. The moment you change your approach is when you get caught out.”

The Rocks are running the rule over Chichester central midfielder Tommy Block, who has played for England Colleges, and he could feature in a matchday squad soon.

Howell said Sanders and Dolcetti would benefit from playing for Chichester and could be called back to the Lane when needed.

Striker Jimmy Wild remains the only squad member in the treatment room. His knee injury is likely to keep him out for another three to four weeks but with Adebayo, the ever-improving Jimmy Muitt and Ollie Pearce all vying for places up front, there is no need to rush him back.

STEVE BONE

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