Rocks Review: Harper blow means yet another player search

The Rocks find themselves in the market for new faces – again – after yet another injury setback.

Striker Steve Harper has been ruled out for up to three weeks with an Achilles injury, leaving them short of options up front.

That’s meant a familiar round of phone calls to see who they can bring in, and they are hopeful of adding another player to their ranks before starting a hectic spell of three away games in eight days when they go to Burgess Hill on Saturday.

Harper is the latest in a long line of players lost to injury. Defender Tim Bond, midfielder Lewis Ide, utility pair Ben Andrews and Sonny Cobbs and captain Dan Beck have all been ruled out for lengthy periods.

Joint boss Jamie Howell said: “We are losing a different player each week and it always seems to be key personnel. It’s a massive blow losing Steve when he was playing so well.

“We’ve been on the phone seeing what we might be able to do but at this stage of the season it’s very difficult to bring in experienced players – they’re settled with clubs.

“Jack Pearce has been brilliant helping us do what we can to keep the squad competitive but it’s a battle.”

Another worry is that Andrews may have been reintroduced a little too soon. He came on as a sub in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Folkestone but the Rocks don’t want to push him.

He is likely to remain on the bench at Burgess Hill, where Osa Obamwonyi is scheduled to play the last game of his loan spell.

Another recent addition, Havant & Waterlooville youngster Harvey White, will get another chance to impress after a lively debut.

Joint manager Darin Killpartrick said: “We’re enjoying working with Harvey and we’re grateful to the Hawks for letting him come to us. He suffered a broken leg in pre-season and this was just about his first full 90 minutes since then.”

The pressure in the title race is as high as ever – Dulwich Hamlet and Whitehawk are both a point behind the Rocks. But the men from Nyewood Lane have a game in hand, which they will use up at Eastbourne on Tuesday.

Howell said: “Going away to two Sussex teams will be tough – there’s always an extra edge to derby games.

“Burgess Hill have struggled this season but have picked up recently and will be up for it. Eastbourne, too, are a good side.”