It is very important that we continue to improve in the early parts of the season to be strong enough to cope with the end of the season, which is when titles and promotions are won, says Sheppey United assistant manager Marcel Nimani

Friday 05th November 2021

SHEPPEY UNITED assistant manager Marcel Nimani says his side will not underestimate struggling Rusthall tomorrow.

Ernie Batten’s side are sitting a point clear at the top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table, having extended their impressive winning run to 11 games in all competitions by winning 2-0 at surprise package Erith Town last weekend.

The Ites have collected 34 points from their opening 12 games and hot on their heels are fellow much-fancied pair Chatham Town (33 points from 13 games) and Glebe (32 points from 13).

“We concluded a pleasing October away at Erith Town. It was a tough game at Erith as they put a lot of pressure on us, especially with their set-piece routines,” said Nimani.

“Despite the enduring pressure, we managed to come out of that game with a clean sheet and three points.

“Erith Town are a strong side and I feel they are even stronger this year.  This is a side that have been together for quite some time now and they have a great core of young players coming through.

“I was particularly impressed and surprised by their young centre-half, who I thought was outstanding and quite scary to think he still qualifies for under 18 level.”

Jimmy Anderson’s Rusthall, meanwhile, are in real trouble, having lost 3-0 at home to Lordswood in a relegation scrap last weekend and as a result are in the bottom two with seven points from 13 league outings.

Lordswood are now a point clear in the bottom three after their morale boosting win at Jockey Farm, although they were knocked out of the Kent Senior Trophy by Beckenham Town in midweek, losing 3-2 at home.

Neil Hunter has won only five of his 33 games in charge of Lordswood - who are at home to Bearsted tomorrow - since the beginning of last season.

“We go into the new fixtures with confidence. We take nothing for granted and we certainly do not underestimate any team.  League positions do not always reflect what you are going to face on the day,” said Nimani, on the eve of Rusthall’s visit to Holm Park.

“There are so many factors to consider but for us the main objective is to focus on what we control and that is how we conduct and manage ourselves.

“The camp is good, in a healthy state at the moment, the spirit is high and it is a good place to be.

“It is important to enjoy these moments, they will not last and we are aware in games to come further challenges face us.

“We begin the month with two huge games, first one being Rusthall.

“This is a newly-promoted side, a team with a history of winning big games and raising to the occasion, which I am sure they will do just that on Saturday. This is a side that also bring travelling supporters. It is all set to be a great game of football.

“The following week we have another top-of-the-league clash at home to Erith & Belvedere – a newly-formed side who have really clicked well together and picking up consistent results.

“I have watched these guys twice already this season and as their starting line-up shows, they are a great footballing team so we are very much so looking forward to these challenges.

“For us at Sheppey we do not fear failure. We use every challenge that comes out way; come in a win, draw or defeat, as an acknowledgement of areas to maintain or areas to improve on.

“It is very important that we continue to improve in the early parts of the season to be strong enough to cope with the end of the season, which is when titles and promotions are won.”

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Sheppey United  v  Rusthall
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 6 November 2021
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Holm Park, Queenborough Road, Halfway, Sheerness, Kent ME12 3DB