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Rocks head into Trophy game with Leyton Orient full of hope

Bognor boss Jack Pearce believes there’s still hope for the Rocks despite losing ground in the fight for survival.


The Nyewood Road side endured a blow when they suffered a cruel 2-2 draw with bottom side Whitehawk last weekend.


That result, combined with other teams around them picking up points, means they are six points from safety in National South.


This weekend sees the Rocks have a welcome break from the league, as they welcome National League side Leyton Orient to the Nye Camp (3pm) in the FA Trophy.


With a big crowd expected, there is hope within the Rocks camp that knockout football can bring a boost in form to a side that is low on confidence.


But for Pearce, who has been involved at the club for more than 40 years, he says the current predicament could be worse.


He told the Post said: “When I took over back in 1976 we were bottom of the league, we had no money and we were about to go out of business.


“I had players saying they were with me in midweek then by Saturday seven had left, which meant we were left with the youth team. That’s was a lot worse than the position we are in so I’ll always be positive.”


Things could have been a whole lot better at Nyewood Lane if they had sealed three points away at their Sussex rivals last weekend.


After falling behind to a very soft penalty, two Jimmy Muitt strikes put the Rocks in the driving seat.


In a two minute spell which has summed up the Rocks season so far, Whitehawk then equalised with a bobbling shot from the edge of the area – just one minute after Muitt missed a golden chance to seal his hat-trick and the win for Bognor.


That draw means the Rocks are now two wins adrift from safety after Chippenham and Oxford City both picked up points.

Pearce vows there’s still plenty to play for and says he still believes his side can get out of trouble.


He said: “There’s not a hair’s breadth between all 22 sides in the division which means that three very good sides will go down this year.”


Before thoughts return to the league though, the Rocks have a high-profile match against Orient. Just four seasons ago, the O’s were on the brink of the Championship after making it to Wembley in the League One playoff final.


Now, though, they are struggling in the fifth tier, sitting 19th in the 24-team division and not winning in their past three matches.


While a big crowd is expected to come from east London, Rocks fans will not be intimidated – with FA Trophy wins against Maidstone, Torquay and Altrincham still fresh in their memory from recent years.


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