BOGNOR boss Jamie Howell admits the pressure is on for a home win in the Boxing Day derby versus Lewes.
The Rocks have taken only one point from their past five league games – although they are still well up with the pack in eighth place in the Ryman premier.
But Howell knows fans will be getting worried if they don’t start repeating their fine FA Cup and FA Trophy form in the league.
Lewes arrive at Nyewood Lane on Boxing Day (3pm) in bottom place but buoyed by a win over Farnborough last Saturday.
Howell expects them to be stronger than their lowly position suggests, saying: “They have strengthened and have shown signs of improvement. They’re fighting for their lives.
“There will be expectation of a victory from our fans and I want them to come to games expecting us to win.
“There is a bit more pressure because we’ve not picked up many points lately, but if we don’t beat Lewes, or Burgess Hill a week later, it would be a setback rather than a disaster.”
Howell felt the Rocks played well in Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Billericay on a difficult surface without getting the lucky breaks. He said the Trophy win at Maidstone a week earlier perhaps took it out of his players more than some realised.
“We’re looking a little tired at the moment which is not surprising given how many games we’ve played. Results in the league aren’t great but overall it’s been an excellent first half of the season.”
Defender Sami El-Abd is a doubt for Saturday with a groin problem that forced him off at Billericay, so Chad Field could partner Craig Robson at the back. Midfielder Gary Charman needs a check to ensure he is over concussion.
But forwards Stuart Green and Alex Parsons have both recovered well from injuries.
Follow the Rocks-Lewes action live at www.bognor.co.uk on Boxing Day
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