Rocks Review: Fearsome foursome are raring to go

Dan Thompson is set for his Rocks debut
Dan Thompson is set for his Rocks debut

The Rocks can’t wait to unleash their four-pronged frontline on opposing defences.

Added to the guile and goalscoring prowess of Ashley-Paul Robinson, the management believe it will make them a much more potent force going forward than they were for much of the first half of the campaign.

It’s not known yet how often all four players will feature in the same starting line-up but the fearsom foursome give the Rocks options in attack they didn’t have before.

The future for another forward, Terry Dodd, is less certain. He has signed forms allowing him to join East Preston on a month’s loan.

The Rocks stressed Dodd was still contracted to Bognor and was a valued and important member of the squad. But secretary Simon Cook said: “This move gives Terry a great chance to regain full fitness and his hunger in front of goal.

“East Preston was in fact Terry’s first club. They are currently in second place in the County League first division.”

Thompson, 18, has joined the Rocks on loan for a month after spells with Havant & Waterlooville and Dorchester.

He is likely to make his debut at Enfield on Saturday.

Manager Jamie Howell said: “He’s already trained with us and is raring to go. He wants to play games and score goals for us and show what he can do.

“We’re grateful to Pompey for letting him come to us. He’ll still be training with them too.

“He’s enthusiastic and knows a couple of our lads from his time at Havant. We’re looking forward to having him in the team.”

Thompson was added to the squad last week, just two days after winger Whyte’s return. That in turn came a fortnight after another wide player, Clarke, was recruited.

Howell said: “We’ve got ideas about different ways we can play and use the players we have at our disposal.

“The fact is we have an awful lot of games to play in the next few weeks and we will need all four of them, that’s for sure.”

The Rocks have played for most of this season with one wide man and two strikers, although in the 3-1 win at Cray last week, they used two wingers and one centre-forward. Those formations have allowed them three in midfield - but now, those midfielders will face an increased threat to their places if they don’t keep up standards.

It’s a competitive squad - and one champing at the bit for a game after last Saturday’s home clash with Canvey Island was called off and Tuesday’s planned Sussex Senior Cup trip to Eastbourne United went the same way.

They couldn’t even train on Tuesday night as worsening weather made it impossible for many players to get to Bognor.

Howell said it was one of the worst seasons for postponements in recent times.

“It’s been frustrating - after Cray we wanted to push on and play Saturday and Tuesday,” he said.

“It’s been the same for all clubs but at this level of football, players have day jobs too so fitting in a load more midweek games can be a headache.

“But we’ve got a fully-fit squad pretty much and we’re just looking forward to going to Enfield on Saturday as long as the weather allows.”

For Darin Killpartrick the big freeze has been a shock to the system on his return from Rome, where he took the England Colleges under-17 squad for a tournament in his new role as their coach.

Rocks striker Ollie Pearce and Chichester City centre-half Corey Heath were among players who acquitted themselves well in a series of three games.

The squad get together again for a training camp at St George’s Park, Burton, next month and Killpartrick said he was enjoying his new role.

But for Killpartrick said he was eager to get the Rocks back into action and see how Whyte and Thompson could help them progress.

After the weekend’s visit to Enfield, the postponed county cup visit to Eastbourne will be rearranged for next Tuesday as long as all parties are in agreement.

We’ll have the first report from Enfield on this website on Saturday evening