Thursday 03rd November 2005

Sittingbourne looking to hit the right note

Sittingbourne manager Steve Lovell has added to his injury hit squad as they look to end a run of three successive defeats on Saturday when they entertain second placed Corby Town at Bourne Park, writes Stephen McCartney.

Corby - five points behind league leaders Boreham Wood - make two trips to Bourne Park in the next fourteen games as the two sides also clash in the second qualifying round of the FA Trophy on 12th November.

But Lovell is expected to field three new signings for Saturday's dress rehearsal as he has Joe Dowley (thigh), Jon Neal (hamstring), Dan Tanner (ankle), Mark Lovell (knee) and Dan Edwards (knee) on the sidelines.

So the Welshman has delved into the transfer market and has re-signed striker Michael "Buster" Smissen on loan from Ryman Leaguers Dover Athletic, midfielder Charlie Belcher and defender Lee Hockey is expected to make the switch from Kent League outfit Herne Bay on Friday.

Smissen, who was joint leading scorer for the Brickies in season 2002-2003, is joined by crowd favourite Charlie Belcher, who is a talented singer and has been out in Cyprus on a singing engagement for the summer and Hockey had a spell at Sittingbourne whilst deputising for John Guest - whose now playing for Folkestone Invicta - in 2002.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Lovell is expecting to tie up the signing of Hockey before Saturday's match.

"I can't sign him yet until the seven day approach we put in last Thursday so we'll have to wait on Friday before I can actually speak to him," he revealed.

"Hopefully I'll be able to persuade him to come and sign for us and be involved."

And Lovell is looking to Smissen to convert the chances his side have been making.

"We've been struggling recently to score goals since Mark (Lovell) hasn't been in the team.

"We're creating a number of chances but not sticking them away, so I felt I needed to bring in another forward.

"He was obviously available to come to us so we went for him.  He had a good time with us before and hopefully he can repeat that goalscoring form."

And Sittingbourne will be looking to hit the right note with fans favourite Belcher in the middle of the park.

"He's returned from his work abroad and it was a shame he went away in the first place as he was really playing well," praised Lovell.

"He's a tenacious little player with plenty of heart and a good lad to have in the squad.

"He did get on very well with the crowd.  He's not the biggest but he's full of enthusiasm and a good lad and gives everything everytime he goes out onto the pitch."

But after knocking local rivals Chatham Town out of the FA Trophy in the middle of October, Sittingbourne have lost their last three league games against Uxbridge (1-3), Great Wakering Rovers (0-2) and Ilford (0-1) but Lovell admitted he's been pleased with their performances.

"If we can play like we have been doing - we just need to take our chances," he said.

"I'm very pleased with the way we're playing.  Our football and shape has been good but we've just haven't been finishing teams off.

"We should have never lost our last three games."

Lovell, however, will be looking for more luck after losing 2-1 to Corby Town in their third league game of the season.

"They're second in the league. We played them earlier in the season.  We went 1-0 up, should have been three nil up at half-time and then second half they've scored twice to take all the three points," he recalled.

"If we can play as well as we've been doing I think we'll give them a good game and should win it."

Sittingbourne v Corby Town
Southern League Division One East
Saturday 5th November 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Bourne Park, Central Park, Eurolink, Sittingbourne