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El of a surprise! Sami El Abd emerges as shock candidate for new Rocks player-boss role

Sami El Abd has emerged as a surprise candidate for the vacant managerial job at Bognor Regis Town, we can reveal.

Rocks defender El Abd is said to be in the frame to replace Jamie Howell but in a player-manager’s role. The commanding central defender, 29, is yet to sign a Nye Camp deal for the new campaign and Bognor supermo Jack Pearce has been in discussions with him over the summer.

Howell quit Nyewood Lane at the end of last season following a dramatic play-off final win over Dulwich Hamlet handing Rocks promotion to the National League South from the Ryman Premier Division. Howell moved to league rivals Eastbourne Borough and quadrupled his wages in the process, as well as benefitting from being handed significant funds to attract players.

It is conceivable that El Abd is on Howell’s radar and there is also talk of Worthing, who have already snapped up James Fraser, being interested in his services. But while both clubs could arguably offer bigger wages, the lure of being in charge of a club, one close to his heart at that, in the NLS would be a hugely attractive proposition.

Other potential candidates said to be in contention for the role have included David Wright, Stuart Tuck, Shaun Wilkinson, Michael Birmingham and Miles Rutherford.

Appointing El Abd would also overcome any potential conflict of a new manager coming in and having to forgo bringing in his own backroom team and working with coach Darin Kilpatrick and the backroom staff, who will remain in their positions for the new campaign.

El Abd is said to be a leader in the dressing room and one current Rocks player told Bognor.News: “I can see exactly why Sami is being considered. He has a big, inspirational presence in the dressing room and the players listen to him, for sure.”

El Abd signed from Peacehaven for the start of the 2015/16 seasoned and has previously played for Crawley Town, Chelmsford City, Hayes and Yeading and Team Bath and also had three successful years at Whitehawk where he won a Ryman Premier champions medal.

Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge is a hugely experienced journalist who has worked on local and national newspapers, magazines and written for websites over the past 30 years. He lives in Bognor Regis with his wife and son.