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Cause for optimism as Rocks begin their bid to escape drop

TWO MONTHS – that’s how long the Rocks have to save themselves from the drop.

 

With 11 matches of the National South season to go, Bognor are second bottom of the 22-team league – eight points adrift from safety.

 

Having won only four games in the league all season, closing that gap will not be easy.

 

But a change of formation to three at the back has delivered a change in fortunes. And now there are whispers around the Nye Camp that Jack Pearce’s side can push on and perhaps perform the ultimate great escape.

 

Tomorrow is a crucial episode in what will be an 11-part series of high drama.

 

The Rocks head north to Essex to face Concord Rangers tomorrow (3pm).

 

The Canvey Island side are 17th and struggling of late, having lost their last three league matches.

 

That run of poor form is not the only cause for optimism for Rocks fans.

 

A week off because of the St Albans postponement has given the team vital time to rest up ahead of the run-in ahead.

 

At the back, the change to three defenders looks to have given Bognor solidity at last while allowing the creative midfielders and overlapping fullbacks more time on the ball.

 

Up front, the return of Ollie Pearce alongside Jimmy Muitt is a boost.

 

So, too, is the availability of tall teenage striker Stefan Ljubicic, back in contention after serving a three-match suspension.

 

The Icelandic youth international, who is on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion, saw red just an hour into his debut against Truro City.

 

It is one of a series of dismissals that the Rocks’ small squad has had to cope with since the turn of the year.

 

Pearce said: “We have to take it on the chin. Some of the decisions we have had this season have been extremely difficult to take. The penalty that was awarded against us [in the 2-2 draw] at Whitehawk, that was embarrassing.

 

“They say that it levels out but it doesn’t level out over one season, maybe over three but not one.

 

“We have not had the best decisions but people have to understand these referees at our level are learning their trade. I totally support them and totally support what the FA are doing. But that doesn’t help us now.”

 

The Rocks have a favourable history during visits to the Essex outfit.

 

Bognor fans may recall their last meeting at Thames Road when goals from Ashley Robinson, Mu Maan and James Crane secured a 3-1 victory in the Isthmian Premier.

 

With Concord hovering above the bottom three, the Rocks know that a repeat of that victory will not only boost their own tally but also further damage a relegation rival.

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