Published: 06:50, 22 September 2021
| Updated: 13:19, 22 September 2021
Manager Derek Hares has played down Deal Town’s promotion chances despite the club’s best start to a season in years.
The Hoops sit third in Southern Counties East after six wins from their opening eight games.
They came from behind to beat Erith & Belvedere 2-1 at the Charles Ground on Saturday, Troy Howard with an injury-time winner after Jack Paxman cancelled out Luke Rooney’s opener.
Hares, whose side beat Kennington 2-0 last Tuesday, is enjoying the ride but a promotion challenge couldn’t be further from his mind.
“I haven’t really thought about that,” he said. “I still don’t think you can go away from Chatham and Sheppey.
“We’d like to finish in the top six if we possibly can but I’ve not thought about winning the league.
“The table might be a bit clearer in another 10 games but we’re just enjoying our little run and long may it continue.
“It’s the best start we’ve made in a long time, six wins in eight.
“The lads are confident but you’ve got to keep playing well. If you drop off, you get beat, but the lads have been together three or four years and while they’re still young, they’ve gained that experience.
“We’ve brought in one or two to bolster it up and hopefully the results continue.
“We had a great win against Kennington in the week and another one against Erith & Belvedere - two very good performances.
“We went a goal down on Saturday but we came back strong and Troy scored with almost the last kick.
“It was a good goal, too. He got in front of their defender and smacked it in the corner. You seem to get these last-minute winners when you’re on a good run."
Deal have a blank Saturday before travelling to Bearsted on Tuesday night.
The Hoops will have winger Tom Chapman, their recent signing from Ramsgate, available.
He scored on his debut against Kennington but missed the Erith & Belvedere match through cricket commitments.
“We’re lucky to have Tom,” said Hares. “I’m sure other clubs, now they’ve seen he’s signed for us, are looking at him.
“But he’s enjoying it with us, he’s a good guy and I don’t think he’ll be going anywhere.
“His cricket’s finished now, so we should have him available for the rest of the season, and he’s a player who can only make us better.”