Published: 05:00, 10 December 2021
| Updated: 18:35, 11 December 2021
Ben Smith is calling on Herne Bay’s supporters to do their part when Hastings come to town this Saturday.
Bay take on another promotion contender at Winch’s Field, with Smith’s side aiming to respond after their 2-1 defeat at Cray Valley on Saturday despite Zak Ansah’s late consolation.
Herne Bay are only a point behind fifth-placed Hastings, now managed by Gary Elphick, who occupy the final place-off place at present, having played a league fixture more than Bay.
It is a third match in 11 days for Bay who earned a 2-1 victory at Whitehawk last Tuesday.
Smith said: “When the fixtures first came out, we saw we had this run of games away at Whitehawk and Cray Valley, then at home to Hastings.
“It’s a tough mini run but can we get six points out of nine from it? That’s the target.
“They (Hastings) are rejuvenated under a new manager. We were very unlucky not to come away from there with three points at the start of the season (drawing 1-1 on the opening day), so we will go into this one with confidence.
“I’m sure we will get a good crowd.
"Our supporters that went to Whitehawk were absolutely fantastic. That was not Isthmian South East standard support.
“I’m sure there will be plenty of noise from our fans, getting behind the boys this weekend.
“But they are the biggest club in the league.
“You can dress it up how you like, but we are not the biggest club in the league - they are.
"They will bring a few as well and it will not feel like an Isthmian League game.
“But like when we went there and everyone is screaming for everything and getting behind them, we need our fans to do that.
“I want our stadium to be a really tough place to go and the crowd will play a part in that.”
Another option available during a busy December is Bradley Schafer who struck twice at Whitehawk on his return to the club.
Bay’s boss explained: “Every time I have seen him play, he has been excellent.
“Funnily enough, that was probably the worst I have seen him play but he scored two goals and was the match-winner!
“He is a player I always liked. When I joined Herne Bay, he is a player I would have kept.
“We then tried to sign him before Covid but the pandemic hit. Then he was out with a knee injury. He is someone the fans like.
“Brad will bring a lot of versatility. He is a hungry player and I’m sure he will do well for us.
"But like everyone, he will have to earn his place in the side.”
One player to have departed is midfielder Tom Phipp who has signed for Lewes.
“It’s disappointing really,” Smith said.
“There’s no hard feelings, it’s just one of those things that didn’t work out.
“If he did get a run in the side, I think he is still one of the best players in the league.”
Bay host Sevenoaks in the Kent Senior Cup on Tuesday night.