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Howell can’t contain his excitement as the Rocks look to down Havant’s Hawks

Bognor boss Jamie Howell just can’t wait to see Santa on his way and get down to business against Havant & Waterlooville on Boxing Day.

 

The Rocks go into the traditional festive local derby second in the Ryman Premier, just one place and two points ahead of their Hampshire rivals.

 

A win in front of an expected bumper crowd at Nyewood Lane could lifted Bognor back to the top of the table.

 

And Howell just can’t wait to see what his side can do against the visiting Hawks, who have spent big in a bid to lift them back into the Conference South.

 

Speaking to the Post, Howell said: “I’m excited more than anything.

 

“Anyone that finishes above Havant will win the league this year, no doubt about it.

 

“They are the team that is expected to win and I’m delighted that we are up there to challenge them.

 

“We are there on merit and have played well over the months up to Christmas and that’s why we are where we are.

 

“It’s going to be a really good game. If we play well then there’s no reason why we can’t do well. But we don’t want to be disrespectful to them.

 

The Rocks go into the match on the back of a fine comeback win against Folkestone Invicta last week.

 

After no game for nearly two weeks, a depleted Bognor side fell behind after 20 minutes when Joe Taylor seized on a through  ball

 

His shot bounced off a sliding Rocks defender before flying over goalkeeper Dan Lincoln and into the net.

 

There were further problems when centre half Sami El-Abd went off at half time.

 

But, as they have done all season, the Rocks fought back fiercely and got the equaliser through Ollie Pearce.

 

The home side were reduced to ten men with 20 minutes to go.

 

Shortly after, James Fraser forced his way into the box and shot low into the bottom left corner,to give the Rocks all three points.

 

Howell said: “It was the type of game where we could have been two or three down at half time. But sometimes you get your best results when it doesn’t stack up.

 

“We were a completely different team after the break and it shows the team spirit and commitment that’s in the squad.”

 

Howell is hopeful that El-Abd (dead leg), James Fraser (hamstring), Dan Beck and Gary Charman will be available for the Havant game. Dan Beck is also back, giving him options in midfield.

 

The only major doubt is Lorenzo Dolcetti (thigh) while Albion loanee Dylan Barnett is unavailable due to family commitments.

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