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Rocks search for away day win to help keep alive fading play-off hopes

Bognor boss Jack Pearce and Robbie Blake have urged their players to salvage what remains of their Bostik Premier league campaign when they head to Wingate & Finchley today (Saturday).

The Rocks go into the clash having failed to pick up a win in the past six games — although they have drawn three of these matches — and the poor run in form has majorly dented their hopes of staying in and around the play-off picture.

But with 18 points still up for grabs, the Nye Camp aces can still force their way into the reckoning come the end of the campaign. To do so, though, they really need a victory on the road against Wingate & Finchley — and the hosts have every reason to deny the visitors this result.

For the home side are fighting for their lives at the foot of the table and are just one place above the drop zone going into the game. And they have recorded two impressive triumphs in their past two matches and have scored 11 goals along the way. Bognor, meanwhile, can’t take any confidence from their last outing, where they were hammered 4-0 at home by Leatherhead.

Pearce, who has seen his side suffer defeats in the wake of a catalogue of injuries to key players, said: “In all my years I have never known the list of injured players at the club to be so long. But we have to get on with it. You could say that the defeat against Leatherhead has given us a mammoth task in trying to get back into consideration for the play-offs and we accept that it will be difficult to be in that position come the end of the season.

“But it is true that there are still a lot of points to be won and if we can get a decent result at Wingate & Finchley then it could serve as a springboard for us to mount a bit of a run.”

As the league campaign comes to a close, the Rocks fans can be forgiven for thinking about the potential of a day out at a cup final if the green and white army can cheer on their side to victory against Brighton U23s. The two teams meet in the semi-final of the Sussex Senior Cup on April 9 at Culver Road, Lancing, for the right to face Burgess Hill Town in the final at the Amex, home of Premier League Albion.

And Blake, No. 2 to Pearce and former coach to Pompey boss Kenny Jackett at Fratton Park, says the game provides a chance for the team to pay back the loyal supporters. He added: “Our support this season has been absolutely different class and the fans should know that we all very much appreciate it. Away from home, for a club of this size, the support is fantastic. If we can find a way past Brighton in the semi-final it should give the fans a great day out at the Amex. That said, it will be a tough test against the Brighton youngsters.”

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.