Bognor Regis Town boss eases pressure on side ahead of play-off semi-final against Lowestoft Town
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Boss Jamie Howell feels reaching the play-offs is an achievement in itself for Bognor Regis Town.
The Rocks finished third in the Ryman Premier Division and host Lowestoft Town this evening looking to make home advantage count in the fight to move up to Blue Square (Conference) South. But even if the south coast side taste defeat on their own turf this evening, or in Monday's final against either Kingstonian or AFC Hornchurch, Howell insists this season has still been a success for his club.
He said: 'It would be massive for us. To play in the Conference South would be a fantastic achievement for the club – and we'd love to do that. If that's this year, then fantastic, then if it's not we'll try and do it another year.
'I've said to the players 'I wouldn't want it to be seen as a failure or disappointment '(if we don't get promotion) because I think many people wouldn't have had us in that position in the first place. I think the boys deserve an awful lot of credit for getting us there in the first place. Hopefully, if we can just keep going and get that little bit of luck that you need in the play-offs then all well and good, but we'll wait and see.'
Regis had a chance of finishing runners-up in the table behind Wealdstone going into the final round of fixtures at the weekend but lost 4-2 at East Thurrock – a result which saw the victors survive in the league by the skin of their teeth. That reverse came just two days after Howell's troops had seen off Horsham YMCA to book their place in the Sussex Senior Cup final. And the man at the helm admits tiredness will play a factor for all of the players, including his own, during tonight's semi-final clash.
The club's manager also told the Bognor Observer: 'We're playing quite well. I think the biggest problem or the biggest balanacing act we're trying to achieve at the moment is making sure that we're fresh.
'We played on Thursday, Saturday which was a hard game at East Thurrock – there was a chance for us to come second in the league which would've been a really good achievement for the club – and the game tonight. It's just been a balancing act to make sure we've got the players to have enough in the tank.'
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The Rocks hammered Lowestoft 4-1 the last time they made the trip to the Nyewood Lane during a midweek evening in January. An electric 10-minute second-half spell was enough to secure the hosts a victory with Terry Dodd bagging a hat-trick. He has plundered 21 Premier Division goals this term.
Bognor are looking to secure a return to Step Two of the non-league ladder having dropped out of the top-flight's feeder league in April 2009. A troubled period – which saw Town's clubhouse burned down – same them relegated again but they returned to their current level just last term.