Bognor’s players have been warned that wounded Worthing will relish facing them off the back of a 6-0 home defeat.
Rocks fans are looking forward to going to Woodside Road on bank holiday Monday for the first of this season’s derbies between the arch rivals after seeing Bognor win 5-0 at Wingate at the same time as Worthing were suffering a heavy home Hornchurch hammering.
But Rocks manager Jack Pearce said Adam Hinshelwood and his players would probably view the derby as the perfect game in which to get their big defeat out of their system.
With neither side playing on Saturday, the 3pm Monday clash is the next assignment for both clubs, whose rivalry was fierce last season in games that ended 2-0 to the Rocks at Worthing and 2-2 at Nyewood Lane.
Pearce said: “I was surprised to see the Worthing result but I should imagine they would see a derby game as just what they want if they are trying to put that defeat behind them.
“They will always be fired up for games against us, as we are when we play them, and having lost like that last time out they will be out to have a fast start and get back on track.
“I expect Worthing to be up there at the end of the season so it will be a tough game and I’d say the same about Carshalton, who come to us the following Saturday.”
The 5-0 win at Wingate, in which all the goals came inside 38 second-half minutes, has boosted confidence in the camp after they took only one point from their opening two games – though Pearce did not feel they played particularly well in the first half in north London.
Tommy Leigh, Dan Smith (2), Tyrell Mitford and Jimmy Muitt got the goals that moved Bognor up to eighth place in the Isthmian premier.
Pearce said: “It’s nice to get a win behind you but it only came when we showed composure in the second half. To score five and keep a clean sheet was very pleasing.
“But if we’re going to do anything this season we need to tigthen up defensively. We are giving away too many chances.”
Coach Robbie Blake also expects Worthing to be ‘reeling’ from the 6-0 loss to Hornchurch when Bognor visit. “That result goes out of the window and their manager will have them up for it,” he said.
Blake was buoyant after seeing players take their chances in the romp at Wingate. He said it was proof of his belief his team were very capable of scoring goals and winning games at this level.
“I’m always happy with our team when it’s 0-0 at half-time because I’m always confident we’ll go on and take control of games later on with our fitness,” he said.
Blake was delighted to see Smith score his first two open-play goals of the season, having threatened plenty of times in the first two games. And he had praise for keeper Charlie Searle and the defence for their first clean sheet of the season.
“We did a bit of defensive shape work on Thursday and that went a long way towards it,” said Blake, who also thanked fans who made the trip.
Full-back James Crane returns to the squad for the trip to the club he played for last season and centre-half Gary Charman could be training again within a few weeks after a long spell out after a shoulder dislocation.