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Howell: Rocks rested and raring to go at Folkestone after week off

ROCKS boss Jamie Howell has said his side are fully rested and raring to get back into action after a rare week off.

 

Bognor have defied all the odds so far this season, sitting second in the Ryman Premier despite its small squad being decimated by injuries.

 

With last weekend’s would be opponents Leiston in FA Trophy action, Howell’s men have had no game for 11 days.

 

And the manager claims it has been welcomed by all as a chance to rest up and take stock ahead of the busy Christmas period. Speaking to the Post, Howell said: “We needed the rest to be honest and the break has come at the right time.

 

“We’ve had seven players out injured and there’s not a single team out there that would not struggle with that number of players out.”

 

The Rocks kick off the Christmas period tomorrow, heading to the Kent coast to play Folkestone Invicta (2pm).

 

Howell will be hoping his side can rediscover some consistency with the Rocks winning two and losing two of the past four games.

 

The time off has meant Gary Charman, Jimmy Muitt, Alex Parsons and Dan Beck have all had a chance to recover and are in contention to make the squad for tomorrow’s trip. It will not be an easy task, though. The Seasiders, who are currently tenth in the league, have been formidable at Cheriton Road so far this year – losing just once in 12 home league matches so far.

 

Folkestone are also on a good run of form, unbeaten in five and coming off the back of a 4-2 win against Kent rivals Ramsgate in the county cup.

 

They are managed by the experienced Neil Cugley, who has been with his home town club for 20 years and overseen more than 1,000 matches at the helm.

 

He was instrumental in leading the Seasiders to the Ryman South title last season.

 

Rocks’ fans know that a win could take them back to the top of the table, as they currently sit one point behind leaders Needham Market who won in midweek 2-1 at Harlow Town.

 

The Folkestone match will be followed by a home match against Ryman South side Horsham in the Sussex Senior Cup at Nyewood Lane (7.45pm).

 

Howell’s options have been boosted with two new signings, with Dylan Barnett and Connor Tighe joining on a month’s loan from Brighton and Hove Albion.

 

Midfielder Barnett is rejoining after a similar spell earlier in the season, which saw him grab three goals in 15 appearances.

 

Tighe is a Welsh winger who Rocks fans will remember from a successful spell at Nyewood towards the end of last year.

 

Both will be in the squad for Saturday’s match at Folkestone.

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