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Bognor must be ‘on their guard’ as another Sussex derby looms

Rocks coach Robbie Blake is urging his side to not rest on their laurels as they lock horns with yet another Sussex rival – as this one will have revenge in their sights.


First it was Worthing, then it was Lewes and Whitehawk. Now it is Burgess Hill as Bognor’s run of fixtures against local rivals continues.


Jack Pearce’s side, who are seventh in the Bostik Premier, head to the Green Elephants Stadium tomorrow (3pm) on a good run, having taken seven points from nine in their recent encounters with near neighbours.


From afar, it may seem that Burgess Hill offer the easiest test of the lot having suffered an 8-0 loss at Nyewood Lane earlier in the season. But the Hillians have picked up form of late and are unbeaten in four, a run which has lifted them up the table.


For those reasons Blake is urging his side to avoid complacency when they take to the field tomorrow.


He said: “It’s football and we have all seen cup upsets in recent days.


“Burgess Hill have had a few good results of late and turned it around a little bit.


“It will be a tough game, they will be well up for it knowing the result in the past.


“So we will have to be on our guard and be better than we were against Brightlingsea as if we are not we will come unstuck again.”


That defeat in midweek on the road in Essex halted a run of four games without defeat for the Rocks.


The 288-mile round trip was eventful throughout as a depleted Bognor side were held up in traffic resulting in a delayed kick off.


Then an early penalty shout was turned down before Brightlingsea bagged three goals to seal victory.


It came just three days after a very different performance which result in a 2-0 home win against Carshalton Athletic on Saturday.


Mason Walsh opened the scoring with a fine individual goal before Jimmy Muitt slotted home after good work from Jimmy Wild.


Blake is keen that Rocks learn from the defeat in Essex and admitted the players looked “off it a little bit”.


Speaking to Rocks Radio after the match, he said: “That game typifies that we’re not good at this kind of game.


“The pitch was a bit bobbly and it was a game of second balls. We need to be better than them at passing the ball as at this level once you keep it then gaps open up.”


Bognor go into the match at Burgess Hill with a few selection issues.


The major one is upfront where it is not clear if Portsmouth loan duo Brad Lethbridge and Dan Smith will be available.


One replacement could be Kaleem Haitham who made his Rocks debut in Essex on Tuesday after dual-signing from Chichester.

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