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Herne Bay boss Ben Smith outlines key focus in search for winning formula

Herne Bay manager Ben Smith admits it is back to basics for his players as they look to move on from successive defeats in the Isthmian South East.

Bay followed their derby defeat to Whitstable with a 3-0 reverse against newly-promoted Cray Valley last Saturday.

They returned to winning ways with a 1-0 FA Cup replay success at AFC Croydon on Tuesday but Smith wants more of the same when they visit Haringey in the first qualifying round on Saturday.

Herne Bay manager Ben Smith. Picture: Chris Davey
Herne Bay manager Ben Smith. Picture: Chris Davey

“Winning becomes a habit, and losing can as well and you have to get rid of that negative mindset when it sets in,” said Smith.

“Thankfully we were good enough on the night to do that.

“We’ve had a couple of setbacks that have knocked us really and when the squad is fresh and new it can affect them more than when you’ve had the squad for three or four months.

“It’s been a tough week – a week I didn’t want to have this early, it’s going to happen though.”

Restoring some defensive solidity promises to be a key focus moving forward for a Bay side already boasting a strong attacking arsenal.

Smith added: “We’ve given away really soft goals and there’s been times in our play even against Cray where we’ve been more than a match for them and then gifted a poor goal.

“We wanted to get back to basics, defend first, get those priorities sorted and build from them, we’re always going to score goals.

“It hurts because you lose a couple of games, people expected big things in pre-season and then suddenly there are questions about the players' heart and desire.

“Nobody goes out to do a bad job, they're hurting because they're good and proud players.”

While not seeking out new additions, Smith has refused to rule out tinkering with his squad further as he strives to discover the right blend.

“We've had an awful lot of change from top to bottom so we need to get some consistency," he said.

“I need to trust the players that have played for us, they've got to do the job at the end of the day, if they don't it's time for me to look elsewhere.

“You never know who is going to become available, we're not actively looking but we won't turn a blind eye to it and if something comes up we'll look at pursuing it.”

Bay are scheduled to face Haringey Borough in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round on Saturday.

They aren't back in league action until September 14 when they visit Whitehawk.

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