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Rocks Review: Dodd back for big county cup test

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Terry Dodd is set to go straight back into the Rocks side to face Eastbourne Borough in the Sussex Senior Cup.

But fans are being told: Don’t expect too much too soon from him.

Dodd has been on loan at county league division-one side East Preston for a month and has done well for them, scoring plenty of goals.

His spell away from Nyewood Lane coincided with a Rocks goal drought and there’s been a growing clamour from fans to get Dodd back in a green and white shirt.

They should get their wish when Conference South side Borough visit for a cup quarter-final on Tuesday night, with Dodd likely to partner Dan Thompson up front.

But Rocks manager Jamie Howell said Dodd would not suddenly be back to being the player who scored for fun last season.

“He went out on loan for a reason,” said Howell. “He’s back and looks fitter. He’s lost weight but is not the finished article.

“It will take time for him to get back to where he was but hopefully he will be out to prove a few things and we’ll get some good performances from him.”

Dodd’s importance to the squad was heightened by last week’s surprise departure of Ashley-Paul Robinson, who has moved to Mersham, closer to his Bromley home, because of work commitments.

The Rocks have fired blanks in four of their past five games - including Saturday’s 2-0 reverse at Bury Town. The Rocks have lost all four of those games. The game that broke the scoring duck was last Tuesday’s 4-4 draw at East Thurrock, where Thompson got two.

Howell said he was as frustrated as fans at the team’s current form but said any team would struggle if unable to replace the likes of injured, experienced players like Ben Andrews and Louis John - both of whom are neating fitness again.

Defensive injuries have forced players like James Crane and Dan Beck to play at the back instead of in midfield, and Howell felt that although some of the squad’s younger players had done well coming into the side, injuries and departures had forced their hand in playing perhaps too many inexperienced players too often.

“I’m actually the same as the fans in that I want to win every game. My job is to get results now while also building foundations for the future, and at the moment it’s proving difficult to do both.”

The Rocks will hope it can be a week of home comfort - after Tuesday’s cup game they welcome Concord Rangers to the Lane for a Ryman premier game on Saturday hoping to arrest their slide down the table. They are tenth after Bury leapfrogged them with Saturday’s win.

The only new injury concerns for Tuesday night are in goal - with Craig Stoner struggling with a knee injury and Nick Jordan suffering shoulder and back problems. Tom Boyle may be recalled from East Preston as cover.

STEVE BONE

We’ll have a report from Rocks v Eastbourne Borough here on Tuesday night.

 

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