Rocks insist: We have never worked harder

Action from the Rocks' home clash with Hampton / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Action from the Rocks' home clash with Hampton / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Coach Darin Killpartrick says the Rocks squad have never worked harder than they working to try to turn around their poor run of form.

And he has jumped to the defence of under-fire manager Jack Pearce, insisting he is spending every hour he has trying to sign the centre-forward the management and fans hope could save the season.

Bognor slipped to a 2-1 defeat at home to in-form Hampton & Richmond on Saturday, leaving them second from bottom after a run of three draws and nine defeats from their past dozen National League South matches.

The pressure is on to halt the slump but things don’t get any easier, with a visit to seventh-placed St Albans on Saturday – their seventh away in a sequence of nine matches.

Killpartrick understands the fans’ frustrations but said he wished supporters could see the effort the whole squad and backroom team were putting into trying to get things right.

“We are working so hard – harder than we have ever worked in fact – on technical things, tactics and physicality and everyone in the squad is on board with it.

We are working so hard – harder than we have ever worked in fact – on technical things, tactics and physicality and everyone in the squad is on board with it.

Darin Killpartrick

“We need to get a win from somewhere and hope it lifts the whole club when it comes.

“We need a centre-forward to play alongside Ibra (Sekajja) – someone who will score 15 or 20 goals this season – and Jack is non-stop on the phone trying to make that happen.”

Killpartrick felt the return of defender Sami El-Abd, one of the club’s most expeirenced players, was a boost but losing another older header, full-back James Crane, until February or March as he awaits shoulder surgery was a huge blow.

Their poor luck with injuries has continued with news that another full-back, Archie Edwards, who is on a youth loan from Charlton, is out for five or six weeks with a hamstring injury.

Manager Pearce said the search for a goalscorer was the top priorty, but far from the only one. He felt Hampton could not have complained had they lost or drawn at Bognor on Saturday, and said he was beginning to doubt the old adage that you make your own luck.

Pearce said: “Saturday’s defeat was very, very hard to take for all of us. They came to us as the form team and the gulf should have been enormous but in terms of possession, passing and movement we were better than them.

“The boys are working hard but confidence comes from winning. Some weeks it’s hard to see why we’re not getting our rewards.

“I can’t complain one bit about the players’ attitude. It is excellent. As Dabba says, they’re working harder than ever. We are as fit as any team in the league and can pass as well as any team, but we are not as physical as other teams, our dead-ball delivery is not always as good as others and sometimes our forward players could be more aggressive in the box.

“We are constantly trying to strengthen. We have agreed deals with three different clubs to bring in another centre-forward – the money has been sorted – but each time the player has said they don’t want to come to Bognor.”

A tough autumn has not been made any easier by another away cup draw – they will visit Hemel Hempstead in the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy on Saturday week.

Before then comes the St Albans visit and a home game next Tuesday against fellow strugglers Oxford City, which looks a massive game.

The club thanked supporters for their ongoing support through tough times and hope as many fans as possible will be at the Oxford game.

Get first news from St Albans v Rocks on this website