Thursday 24th March 2005

Please credit article to Stephen McCartney - www.kentishfootball.co.uk

Lovell is the right man 

CHATHAM TOWN manager Steve Binks is relishing Saturday's North Kent derby with Sittingbourne at Bourne Park, writes Stephen McCartney.

It will mark the return of former Brickies favourite Steve Lovell, who replaced Steve Nolan at the helm on Wednesday.

"I've got a lot of respect for Steve (Lovell)" admitted Binks, whose looking forward to a competitive but fair local derby.

"They are always tough local derbies.  Form goes out of the window.  Obviously several players have played for both clubs so there's a good spirit and friendly rivalry between the clubs.

"Sittingbourne are a well run club and have always been hospitable off the field.  On the field, the games have always been a competitive affair."

Binks will be without centre back Andy Boyle (unavailable) and is sweating on the fitness of teenage sensation Frannie Collin and Mark Brookes, who are both trying to shake of ankle injuries.

Michael Smissen, however, will be playing his last game for Chatham and is expected to be heading back to Ryman Premier Leaguers Dover Athletic after the game.

Binks admitted he was pleased with his contributions for Chatham whilst on loan.  "He has done superb for us.  We brought him in as a striker originally but for one reason or another we've played him as a full back.

"He started his career as a centre half and he's been superb, working his socks off and creating a lot of opportunities.  He has worked up and down the right flank and has put in some great crosses."

Meanwhile, in the Sittingbourne camp, chairman Andy Spice says he was delighted to appoint Steve Lovell as the club's new manager so quickly after Steve Nolan announced his intention to resign.

It will be Lovell's second stint in charge at Bourne Park.  "There was no need to interview Steve because everyone knows his credentials" explained Spice.

"I knew he was available and he's been to a few of our games.  He's got experience of managing at this level and above, and everyone in the game has a lot of respect for him."

Nolan announced his intention to quit last week after less than four months in charge and Lovell becomes the third manager of the season after Nolan and Mark Beeney.

Nolan, speaking earlier in the week, said: "All I said to the club is I won't be there next season."

And his reasons for making such a decision? "They're personal reasons and situations that are there at the moment. It's not a spur of the moment thing.  I've been discussing this with the chairman for the last 5-6 weeks.

"What I've said to them is its that time of the year when you discuss players their contracts for next season.  The new manager needs to come and see the players at this time of the year."

Spice confirmed Lovell was a long-term appointment and he added: "He will use the end of this season to get himself organised for next season and settled into the club.  Obviously we're always looking for promotion and we hope we can progress with Steve in charge."

Under Nolan, Sittingbourne won only three out of eighteen league games and collected a total of 16 points from a possible 54.

Sittingbourne v Chatham Town
Southern League Division One East
Saturday 26th March 2005
Kick Off 12:00 Noon
at Bourne Park, Central Park Stadium, Eurolink, Sittingbourne