The Rocks are on course to welcome back Dan Beck, James Crane and Jon Marzetti for next week’s Sussex Senior Cup final at Brighton - but Harvey Whyte won’t make it.
With the showpiece end to the season at the Amex Stadium now just nine days away - and tickets for the Rocks section of the ground selling fast - the management are pleased with how injuries are clearing in time for key players to take their place in the line-up.
The squad resumed training last night after a week’s break as the final build-up to the meeting with Brighton’s development team begins.
Winger Whyte’s absence will be a blow although the Rocks did manage a fine run of results in April without him. Whyte broke his collarbone at Whitehawk at the end of March and isn’t quite ready for a comeback.
But Beck’s ankle ligaments and Crane and Marzetti’s foot injuries look to be healing nicely.
Dan Thompson has a groin niggle but is hopeful he will be okay, while defender Sam Pearce has returned to Havant.
Rocks manager Jamie Howell said: “We’ll have a good look tonight at how everyone is but most of the injured boys are coming on well.
“We should have three of them all okay for the final and we’d envisage Dan being all right, but not Harvey.
“He had an x-ray last Friday and although it showed he’s healing nicely, they said he shouldn’t play football for four or five weeks, and the final is two weeks from that date.
“Although he’d probably come through it okay, if he were to get a knock it could cause complications, so we won’t risk him.”
Instead the Rocks will hope to see him fully fit for pre-season, when the ranks should also be boosted by the return of long-term casualties Ben Johnson and Stuart Axten.
Howell said: “Having those three back for pre-season or the start of the season would be massive and would give us a real lift.”
But the focus for now is firmly on the cup final and club commercial manager Maurice Warner revealed tickets had been selling well since going on sale a week ago today.
“There was a queue waiting when we first put them on sale last Thursday and we’ve sold about 600 from Nyewood Lane, and Brighton and the Sussex FA have sold a couple of hundred more for our section,” he said.
“We’ve ordered another batch and it’s nice to see such strong interest from fans.”
A supporters’ coach will run, leaving Nyewood Lane at 12.30pm. Tickets are £10 adults, £8 concessions, and these can also be bought from the club.
Howell said everyone was looking forward to the club’s big day out.
“Having a week or so’s break has been nice. It gives us time to prepare and to look forward to the occasion,” he said.
“We’ll be out to enjoy it but not just enjoy it. We will be up against a quality team and we want to compete and do our best to win the cup.
“We’ll not go there and defend and I’d think it will be quite an open game. And I don’t think any of us will be fazed by playing in very different surroundings to those we’re used to.”
For ticket enquiries, call 01243 822325 or visit the Nyewood Lane office between 10am and midday any weekday. The Rocks plan to sell final tickets up to the day before the game.