After last week’s disappointing defeat at Thamesmead Town in the Emirates FA Cup, The Rooks return to Bostik League action with the visit of Hythe Town on Saturday. After an impressive cameo last week, Charlie Coppola will be keen to return to first team action, whilst Frankie Chappell came through the game unscathed. James Hammond will be available after serving his three-game suspension whilst Gus Sow should be fit after missing the last few games. There’s a couple of other squad changes that Darren explains below.
After last week’s disappointment in the Cup, we’ve had a good week in training. The boys worked very hard on Monday night, and we spent Thursday’s session working on our shape for today’s game. It’s the first time since the start of the season that we’ve been able to enjoy back-to-back training sessions and it was a good opportunity to work on a few things.
Since my last notes, we’ve seen a few comings and goings. Firstly, we’ve cut short Shomari Barnwell’s loan period from Solihull Moors. He wasn’t showing the commitment levels and effort that I expect from any player at this club and so he’s been returned to his parent club.
We’ve also seen two of our young lads, Callum Kealy and Jack Whitmore move on to the Met Police and Haywards Heath respectively. It’s disappointing because we’ve spent a lot of time developing and working with these boys over the past couple of years. Unfortunately, other managers get in their ear and make promises of first team football and the players get their heads turned. A few weeks down the road, the players might be wondering if they made the right decision.
That said, we’re not going to stop working to develop young players because we think it’s the right thing to do as a club. We’ve seen Harry Reed break into the first team this season and give us real competition for places, and I’ve got another couple of 16-year-olds from Alex Walsh’s squads training with the first team. If we can keep developing players and bringing them through, it will benefit the club massively.
The return of Charlie Coppola this week proves that continuing to do the right thing by young players can pay dividends. I’ve been keeping tabs on Charlie over the summer and talking to him week to week, and it’s really great to have him back. He and his family feel very welcome at this club, and you the fans made him feel very good when he became a first team regular last season, and that’s all played a major part in bringing him back. We’ll continue to work hard with Charlie and make him a better player. When the time’s right for Charlie, I’m sure he will reach his goals.
Hythe Town – How was last season?
Hythe couldn’t keep up their early season form as the fixtures piled up and fell away in the final weeks, although 7th place is nothing to be scoffed at. It will be interesting to see how they fair this season without Alfie May and Frankie Sawyer up front.
Isthmian League South Division – 7th – P 46 W 23 D 9 L 14 GS 87 GA 65 GD +22 PTS 78
•FA Cup – Second Qualifying Round – lost at home to Walton Casuals 4-2
•FA Trophy – First Round – lost away to Welling United 8-1
•Kent Senior Cup – First Round – Lost at home to Gillingham 3-2
•Isthmian League Cup – First Round – Lost away to Faversham Town 3-0
How has this season been for them so far?
After losing their opening three Bostik League South games, and exiting the Emirates FA Cup to Corinthian Casuals after a replay, Hythe Town have hit the goal trail, beating Ramsgate and Guernsey and scoring nine goals in the process. Kenny Pogue has been among the goals again with five so far this term.
When did we last meet Hythe Town?
Hythe Town won the encounters on aggregate last season, thanks to their 4-0 win at Reachfields in December. Despite some heavy fog and a mounting injury crisis, the Rooks took to the field but soon found themselves a goal down (to Ryan Johnson) and a player down (Jack Dixon red card).. Alfie May thought Christmas had come early as he plundered a hatrick in a twenty minute spell either side of the break.
In a tense affair at The Pan in March, with both sides harbouring play-off hopes it was an Alex Malins first half header that settled an uninspiring game.
Kick-off on Saturday at The Pan is 3pm, kick off. Admission is £11 for Adults, £6 for Concession and Under16s go Free.