A three-way battling for striking supremacy is looming at Nyewood Lane.
Terry Dodd has had a terrific start to his Rocks career with four goals in his three pre-season friendlies so far.
But Luke Nighitngale and Jason Prior are racing back to fitness – and are set to stake their claim in the three remaining warm-up games for a regular starting spot when the league season begins.
A couple of weeks ago it looked like Nightingale could be facing a spell on the sidelines after suffering a new knee injury, which would have paved the way for ex-Worthing top scorer Dodd and Prior to partner one another in the forward line.
Now Nightingale has delighted the management with his comeback – setting up a fascinating tussle for places in attack.
Bosses Jamie Howell and Darin Killpartrick have stated they may play all three on occasions, with Nightingale the man likely to drop deeper to play behind the other two.
Dodd’s latest goal proved to be the winner in last Friday’s 2-1 triumph over Conference South side Eastbourne Borough at Nyewood Lane and Dodd will be out to keep his goal-in-every-game record intact if he plays in tonight’s friendly at Selsey.
Nightingale could feature at the High Street Ground while Prior’s recovery from a shoulder injury picked up in the first friendly at home to Crawley means he is likely to be involved away to Leatherhead next Tuesday.
After that there’s just a visit to Met Police on Saturday, August 13, before the Rocks start their league programme at home to Chipstead a week later.
Killpartrick said: “Luke did a full training session on Tuesday night and came through it well. Jason also did a full session but is not quite as close to match fitness as Luke.
“It’s great to have them both coming back, obviously, and with Terry starting so well in terms of his performances and his attitude, it’ll make things interesting.”
The win over Eastbourne pleased Killpartrick and Howell although neither is getting carried away about a couple of good pre-season results.
Howell said: “It’s nice to beat a team of Eastbourne Borough’s standing but we’re not there yet. Pre-season’s been frustrating in many ways because, for various reasons, we’ve not always been able to work with the players we want to work with.”
Howell rates defender Daryl Wollers as the find of the season so far, suggesting the 18-year-old ex-Littlehampton player – recommended to the Rocks by John Suter – will have a part to play in the squad in the coming season.
The Rocks also hope to have another look at teenage midfielder Jack Blatchford when he returns from a fortnight’s holiday.
Defenders Chris Breach and Duncan Jupp and midfielder Lewis Ide are also playing their way into conntention for places - Ide coming through his first half-hour of action in nine months against Eastbourne.
The search for another winger continues. Although Louie Castles has done well on the right since his return to Nyewood Lane, they’d like a left-sided player to replace Ben Johnson, who has been loaned to Conference side Newport County by Dagenham & Redbridge.