Rocks must prove they have cured travel sickness

Harvey Whyte leaps to head Bognor into the lead at VCD    Picture by Tommy McMillan
Harvey Whyte leaps to head Bognor into the lead at VCD Picture by Tommy McMillan
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BOGNOR are targeting another fine run on the road after ending their awayday losing sequence.

But they have been warned their next destination will be a tough place to chalk up another away victory.

Before last Saturday’s 3-1 win at VCD, the Rocks had not won or even drawn an away game since October 11, even though a number of those seven successive defeats on their travels did feature good performances.

Now that they have rediscovered how to win away from Nyewood Lane, they are being challenged to produce away form that’s more like home results – their past 11 matches at the Lane have brought eight wins and three draws.

But on Saturday they go to East Thurrock, who sit in the final play-off place and had won five games in six before a 1-0 home defeat to Kingstonian on Tuesday night.

Rocks manager Jamie Howell was delighted by the win at VCD and said they must aim to repeat the trick at East Thurrock.

“We played well and could have been three or four up by the break. We knew VCD were a team who tried to play the ball around and changed our approach a little to deal with that,” he said.

“They got it back to 2-1 which always makes it a bit edgy but we went on and proved we were the better team.

“Our run of away games with no win did need to come to an end and we’re glad it has. Now the aim must be to find more wins away from home.

“East Thurrock are doing well and playing with lots of confidence, but we can go there trying to replicate what we did at VCD. We can concentrate on our own game and put the pressure on them, perhaps.”

Bognor are tenth but only seven points off a play-off place. With 16 games left and no cup competitions to distract them, the Rocks seem well-placed for a strong bid to make the end-of-season lottery, though the three clubs chasing the title and automatic promotion spots look too far ahead.

They prepare for the trip to Essex with a slight doubt over on-loan striker Jason Prior. An awkward fall at VCD left him with sharp pain in his leg – the one with screws in following a break a few seasons ago – but the club are hopeful he will prove his fitness at training tonight.

The only absentees are longer-term casualties Daryl Wollers, who could be back in first-team training in a couple of weeks as he gets over a long-term hip problem, Paul Hinshelwood and Ben Johnson.

Harvey Whyte gave further proof of his versatility at VCD when he switched from right-back – where the midfielder has been filling in for Hinshelwood – to the frontline after Prior went off. Within minutes of moving up front, he had scored the opening goal.

Coach Darin Killpartrick praised Whyte’s adaptability, as well as the amount of work Ollie Pearce and Doug Tuck got through to aid the victory.

“From a coaching point of view it was one of our best performances of the season. We showed maturity with the ball. We knew when to keep it and when to force the pace,” he said.

STEVE BONE

Get the first report from East Thurrock v Bognor on this website on Saturday evening