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Herne Bay manager Steve Lovell won’t rush talented forward Jack Richards back from injury ahead of Isthmian South East trip to fourth-placed Lancing

Forward Jack Richards will not be rushed back by Herne Bay manager Steve Lovell.

The talented former Maidstone, Margate, Ramsgate and Ashford man has had a torrid injury record in recent seasons.

Herne Bay defender Dan Carrington – was sent off for a second booking in their weekend derby 3-0 defeat against Sittingbourne. Picture: James Aylward
Herne Bay defender Dan Carrington – was sent off for a second booking in their weekend derby 3-0 defeat against Sittingbourne. Picture: James Aylward

Richards has returned to training again having only played eight times, which have included five starts, since he joined Bay last summer. Boss Lovell is prepared to be patient with the 24-year-old.

“I’ve had a chat with him and said that I want him to be 100 per cent sure that he’s okay before we put him back in,” Lovell explained. “He’s had so many setbacks.

“I don’t want to force the issue with him. We need him in a position where he can play 90 minutes - without any worries in his own head.

“So, I’m leaving that up to him to make a decision on that.

“But as soon as he’s ready, I’m sure he will be fighting for a place in the starting XI.”

Herne Bay manager Steve Lovell. Picture: Randolph File
Herne Bay manager Steve Lovell. Picture: Randolph File

Herne Bay lost to Isthmian South East play-off rivals Sittingbourne 3-0 at home last weekend after a run of four straight wins.

Lovell, who had defender Dan Carrington dismissed, reflected: “Up until the penalty, and even after that, the game was quite even.

“I think we had the better of the first half. We had quite a few opportunities that we didn’t take - and, obviously, it cost us in the end.

“But they’re a very good side. It was a good game. I enjoyed the game, even though we lost 3-0.

“For most of the game, we defended quite well. I thought we could have stopped the first goal and there was a foul in the build-up that the ref didn’t give.

“Then, the second goal is the penalty and the sending-off. The third goal is a great free-kick into the top corner. Although we lost 3-0, it was never a 3-0 game.

“I’m just disappointed with the sending-off because that changed the whole outlook of the game.”

Already trailing in front of a crowd of 687, the hosts lost Carrington to a second yellow card as he conceded a penalty shortly after the hour mark.

But Lovell conceded: “The ref had no option, really.

“I think it was a booking. It wasn’t a straight red - but it was a booking and, obviously, Dan had been booked before.

“There’s no point fighting against it because that’s what he (the referee) said he saw. That’s fine.

“We’ll take the one-game ban that Dan will have on Saturday and we’ll move on.”

Bay saw Tuesday’s derby at Hythe postponed “due to the continued waterlogging at Reachfields” and visit fourth-placed Lancing this Saturday.

Lovell noted: “They’re another good side. They’re a good footballing side.

“It will be another tough game for us. But we will look forward to it.

“They play on 3G, as well, so there will be no doubt that it will be on.

“We can prepare ourselves properly for that. They’re on a good run so it should be a good game.

“We’ll look forward to it, give it a go and see what happens.”

While Carrington will miss the match, two other defenders are fit again.

Lovell said: “We have got Tom Hanfrey who is back from injury.

“He could come into the frame. I’ve got options. I could go with a four at the back or a three. We’ll see.

“We’ll train on Thursday and see what we have got. We have still got good numbers.

“Ponty (Harrison Pont) is back. We’ll miss Dan on Saturday but we have got players who can slip in and take his place.”

Herne Bay will aim to complete the league double over Lancing this season after they beat them 3-1 at home in mid-October.

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