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Howell has old boy to thank for “top class” goalkeeper Lincoln

Rocks boss Jamie Howell has praised his “top class” goalkeeper Dan Lincoln – and thanked a Bognor old boy for bringing him to Nyewood Lane.


The former Reading Academy prospect signed for Howell’s side in October – and since then has firmly established himself as the club’s number one.


A string of fine performances was capped off on Tuesday, when Lincoln made a series of saves – including a penalty – in the Rocks’ 1-0 win over Harrow.


Speaking to the Post after Lincoln’s man of the match performance, Howell said his impact has been “absolutely top class” – and revealed his arrival at Nyewood Lane was due to former stopper Grant Smith.


Howell said: “Dan has been brilliant since day one. He will play at a far higher level. It’s so important to have a good goalkeeper, as even the top sides find out to their cost.


“We were struggling in that area and I spoke to Grant who said he had a mate who couldn’t get a club but would suit us to the ground in the way that we play.


“He got us the goalkeeper and, so far, Dan has just been brilliant.”


Lincoln’s man of the match performance was his first since signing for the club.


But, during that time, he has marshalled the defence well, keeping five clean sheets in 14 matches.


Some Bognor fans were worried when last month Lincoln signed dual-registration forms at National League side Braintree Town.


But Howell said that was just a short term fix and Lincoln, who has also spent time at Oxford United and Met Police, remains a Rocks player – for now.


He said: “Braintree were short at one stage but don’t think he has any intention of going up there full time.


“He is our goalkeeper but like anything, if he got an opportunity he will, like all the players, move on and we will be very grateful for the work he has done.”


Lincoln and the rest of the squad now have a week off as planned opponents Leiston are in FA Trophy action.


Howell said the rest was welcomed by all at Nyewood Lane, as it would allow his injury-hit squad to get some much needed R and R.


He said: “The lads are just dead on their feet and it’s difficult for them as I’m bringing them back from injury quicker than what they should be to help the squad.


“They are not match fit and some of them are just doing it on willpower alone.


“It is a good chance for us to regroup. We have achieved far more than anyone thought  we would have done so far.”.

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