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Herne Bay manager Ben Smith on their first 'home' match of the season - at Ramsgate FC - and the wait for 3G pitch to be completed at Winch's Field

Ben Smith concedes Herne Bay’s preparations for their first home match this season haven’t been ideal - but he thinks it will be worthwhile in the long run.

Having started their inaugural Isthmian Premier campaign with three away fixtures, taking three points from them, Bay host Kingstonian this Saturday.

Herne Bay boss Ben Smith. Picture: Randolph File
Herne Bay boss Ben Smith. Picture: Randolph File

But with work to install the club’s new 3G pitch at Winch’s Field still not completed, the match will be played at Ramsgate instead.

Bay boss Smith suggests the project to install their new surface could cost in the region of £1million and it will make it one of the best pitches in the country when it is completed.

“It’s not ideal preparation for starting in a new league, let’s be honest,” he said.

“But when you are dealing with close to a £1million project, there are delays. At least we know our pitch is going to be outrageously good.

“The second it’s down, I think there’s only one other which will have the level of specification that we have got in the country so our one, statistically, will be one of the best 3Gs in the country because of all the extra stuff we have got on it.

“That’s the thing, the additional stuff we have has meant we are more susceptible to a delay than a lot of other 3G pitches that have been built recently.”

Herne Bay have been drawn at home to Horsham in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round, too, and Smith says there may be issues in terms of getting the pitch ratified in time for then.

He said: “We are really close [to their 3G pitch being ready]. Being drawn at home in the FA Cup is really unhelpful.

“This is my fourth season and we never get a home tie in anything. Then the one time we don’t want a home tie, bang - we are drawn at home.

“That could be an issue, just because, obviously, you have to have it ratified.

"But we will see how we go on that.”

Bay will come into two matches in three days, visiting Folkestone on Bank Holiday Monday, after a 2-1 loss at Bowers & Pitsea last weekend.

“Nine times out of 10, you win 3-0 or 4-0. It’s definitely part of the learning curve this season,” he reflected.

“They are definitely not going to be a side that’s up there, that’s for sure. I have got a lot of time for James [Collins, Bowers manager], we speak a lot, but that’s definitely three points dropped.

“When you have got 75% or 80% of the possession, you have got to win the game. It’s as simple as that.

“[From] our first three games, I feel like we shouldn’t be talking about any losses but we are.”

Forward Hassan Jalloh scored again for Bay at Bowers but ex-Herne Bay player Bola Dawodu scored the all-important third goal for the home team.

Smith said: “It was always meant to be written in the stars, wasn’t it? I certainly wouldn’t begrudge Bola his moment.

“I think it’s well-documented what I think of Bola, what the club thinks of Bola, and vice-versa. He’s certainly someone that would have stayed at the club - had he thought he was going to play more.”

On the double-header over the Bank Holiday weekend, Smith added: “I have watched a lot of Folkestone and I saw Kingstonian on the Saturday that we didn’t play.

“I think they are definitely a step up in terms of quality to what we have played already, no disrespect to anyone.

“It will be nice to play Folkestone again.

"I haven’t played Folkestone in a long time with the success that they have had. It shows what we have done and where we are at now.”

Midfielder Mike West is closing in on a return to full fitness while key defensive duo Laurence Harvey and Dan Johnson are back in contention this weekend.

Deal Town say Herne Bay striker Rory Smith has joined the club on dual-registration and will be available for the Hoops' next five matches.

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