ROCKS REVIEW: We’re top - but we won’t let it go to our heads

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The Rocks roared to the top of the league with back-to-back wins but assured fans: We won’t turn into big-time Charlies.

The Rocks roared to the top of the league with back-to-back wins but assured fans: We won’t turn into big-time Charlies.

They put their Faversham nightmare well and truly behind them by beating leaders Met Police at Nyewood Lane in front of the biggest crowd of the season in Ryman one south.

And they followed it up with the latest in a long line of comfortable away wins, this one a 3-1 triumph at fog-bound Chipstead.

Tuesday night’s win put them a point clear of Met Police at the top and the previous leaders failed to regain pole position when they lost - incredibly - 5-4 at home to struggling Whyteleafe on Wednesday night.

There’s confidence throughout the Rocks camp they can keep up highly-impressive form which has brought eight wins from nine league games in the opening 32 days of 2011.

But equally, management and players are keen to keep their feet on the ground and play down many people’s claims they are now favourites for the title.

They look to gather another two wins with back-to-back home games against Godalming and Ramsgate on Saturday and Tuesday, but will be without in-form Luke Nightingale, who will be out for up to a fortnight with a leg injury sustained against the Met.

And bosses Darin Killpartrick and Jamie Howell say they will keep taking things a week at a time and make sure their squad keeps producing the goods.

Killpartrick revealed he was never worried the Rocks would take time to recover from the trip to Faversham, where they lost 4-0 after seeing Perry Ryan sent off after two minutes.

“A good team doesn’t become a bad team overnight and, to an extent, we’ve proved that in the past two games,” he said.

“A defeat was always going to come at some point. It was about how we reacted to it, and we reacted well.

“I won’t get carried away by beating Met Police – they had a few out – but the way we approached the game was excellent.

“Chipstead was the same, really. Our preparation was the same and we showed an extremely professional attitude and moved the ball about with accuracy.

“We gave them a goal, which I wasn’t overly happy about, but we’re not bad going forward and always feel we can get another goal when we need one.”

Howell added: “At Chipstead we were in control and I felt we had another gear or two to go up if we’d needed to.

“We ought to look tired with the number of games we’ve played recently, but when you’re winning it’s much easier not to look like you’re running on empty.

“It was nice to go top with this win but we won’t worry too much about that before the end of the season – that’s when it counts. The players know that and they’re not going to start resting on their laurels now.”

Next up it’s Godalming – who held the Rocks to an FA Trophy draw at Nyewood Lane in October – and Killpartrick expects a battle. He said: “Our problem now is everyone will want to beat us because we’re one of the top teams. They’ll raise their game and we will have to raise ours - the same goes for the Ramsgate match on Tuesday.”

Nightingale’s absence is likely to be covered by James Fraser playing just behind Jason Prior – as he did at Chipstead – or Kane Wills being used in a similar role. It’s unlikely the Rocks will call back one of two strikers, Dean Maynard and Charlie Msrshall, who are getting games with county league teams.

Perry Ryan will be suspended for three games starting on Tuesday. John Marzetti is his obvious replacement.

Prior himself is a slight injury concern for Saturday after bruising his hip at Chipstead but he should be fit to play, as should James Crane, withdrawn early on Tuesday with a sore knee.