Rocks have no room for error in play-off bunfight

Chad Field gets forward for the Rocks against the Met  Picture by Louise Adams LA1500044-11
Chad Field gets forward for the Rocks against the Met Picture by Louise Adams LA1500044-11
  • Play-offs in sight but many in the mix
  • Three back from injury - three out for season
  • Easter set to make or break promotion hopes

JAMIE HOWELL says the Rocks are still in the play-off mix – but admits there’s little room for error in the final five matches.

Bognor take on Enfield and Lewes over a critical Easter weekend knowing a decent return of points will set up a thrilling final three Saturdays of the season.

Equally, defeat at Enfield – who currently occupy the prized final play-off spot that nine teams look to be fighting for – would probably end their hopes for this term.

They kept their challenge going with a hard-working 2-0 home win over Met Police last Saturday, when Terry Dodd and Jason Prior marked their blossoming partnership up front with a goal apiece.

Howell said he was delighted the Rocks were still in the hunt with less than a month to go but admitted it would need a storming run of results to secure the club’s fourth play-off semi-final in five years.

“It was a good win against Met Police. We took our chances in a very tight and fairly even game,” Howell said.

“As for the play-offs, we certainly haven’t given up on them. That final spot will go to whichever team can put a great run together over the final five games.

“The fact our next game is at Enfield (on Saturday) helps us, I think. We need to go there and go for the win. It will be a tough game because they’ve had an excellent season which has surprised many people.

“After that we have Lewes at our place on Monday and although they have struggled this season, they have beaten us twice – they always seem to raise themselves when they play us.

“Then all our final three games are against other teams in that top group – Leiston, Wingate & Finchley and Margate – so there’s plenty to play for.”

The Rocks have been boosted by the return from injury of forward Stuart Green. He was influential in the win over the Met – his first game in more than a month – and will be a key man in the run-in.

Fans and management were also pleased to see Doug Tuck come off the bench after recovering from a groin problem, which may yet limit the midfielder’s minutes on the pitch.

And a special cheer was reserved for full-back Daryl Wollers, playing for the first time since surgery on a hip problem which has seen him miss much of the past three seasons.

The bad news is that striker Ollie Pearce, wideman Alex Parsons and utility player Harvey Whyte could all miss the rest of the season.

But the arrival of Pompey Academy defenders Snorre Nilsen and Chad Field has boosted resources and the Rocks are set to borrow a third youngster from Fratton Park –midfielder James Granger.