Lewes FC manager Tony Russell has challenged Michael Klass to maintain his stellar recent performances, admitting that he’s “starting to see what all the fuss is about” regarding the midfielder.
Klass joined the Rooks in the summer and has become a regular fixture in Russell’s midfield over the first half of the season.
Lewes head into Saturday’s home encounter with Potters Bar Town seeking to end a two-game winless streak.
And while the boss admits his frustration with recent results, he reserved praise for the ever-developing Klass.
“To come away with the draw (from Wingate and Finchley) was disappointing, but we’ll concentrate on the performance,” says Russell.
“I thought we controlled the game in the second half and young Michael Klass’ levels are going up and up. I’m starting to see what all the fuss is about.
“When we signed him a lot of people congratulated me on getting him. Don’t get me wrong, he’s been doing well. But these last two games he’s been outstanding.
“I spoke to him in the week and said about maintaining that and going higher and higher, in terms of his level. He’s been exceptional.
“I’m so pleased for him as well as he had a tricky start to life with us. He’s come along really well. In training his football brain and technique is unbelievable – it’s about transferring that into games. It’s great to see him doing that.”
Focus on Potters Bar
The 1-1 result at Wingate and Finchley last weekend means Lewes sit third in the Isthmian League table heading into Saturday’s 3pm kick off at the Dripping Pan.
Potters Bar are 15th and lost at home to Carshalton on Tuesday night. But Russell is wary of what Lee O’Leary’s men will bring.
“We played them earlier in the season and won 3-1,” says the boss.
“They’ve changed a lot personnel-wise – but also in the way they play. I went to watch them against Carshalton on Tuesday and I was really impressed.
“I’ve spoken about Carshalton before, they’re a very good side. But Potters Bar must have had 65%-70% of the ball and controlled the game. A little lack of finishing and perhaps a little lacking in quality in the final third let them down on the night, but I thought their play was fantastic. I was really impressed with Lee’s side.
“It’s going to be a tricky game because they brought boys in to be a possession-based side. And obviously we like to keep the ball as well.
“I came away from that game on Tuesday and, as a manager, I drove home thinking about how their counter is going to work, and the structure of our session coming up. All the work we’re doing without the ball and how important it is.
“Because this game is going to be about the work we do without the ball and not so much with the ball. We’ve had a good session, the boys are in good spirits, we’ve got all the info across that we needed to.”
Last 2021 home game for the men
Saturday will be the last home game for Lewes’ men’s team at the Dripping Pan this side of Christmas.
And Russell is hoping to go out with a bang before a string of away fixtures this December.
“I know the last two results aren’t what we’ve been looking for but there’s been promising performances in both,” he says. “We’ve come from a really, really tough period.
“We’ve played nine games in four-and-a-half weeks and it’s hard for these boys. Remember they go to work as well. We’ve got Saturday to Saturday now, so we can recharge our batteries and go again.
“It’s got the making of a very good game here. They’ve got a good side, play good football. We’re looking forward to seeing the fans Saturday and we hope they enjoy the game.”
Lewes vs Potters Bar tickets
Lewes FC tickets for the game, which kicks off at 3pm on Saturday, are available to buy online (at a discount) or on the gate.
Ticket prices on the gate are as follows:
Adults – £12 general admittance
Concessions – £8 general admittance
Kids (under 16) – free!
Beach hut for six people – £99