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Herne Bay boss Steve Lovell still sees room for improvement ahead of Isthmian South East derby at Hythe Town

Steve Lovell still sees room for improvement in high-flying Herne Bay’s squad.

Bay are second in Isthmian South East, albeit they and leaders Three Bridges are two of only three teams to have played as many as 10 league fixtures this season.

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

Both goalkeepers - Herne Bay’s Harry Brooks and ex-Bay man Jordan Perrin - impressed as Lovell’s side were held to a goalless draw at home to Erith & Belvedere last Saturday.

Bay manager Lovell said: “If someone had said at the start of the season that, at the beginning of November, you will be second, we would have taken that, considering it’s a new group of boys.

“There’s a long way to go. It was only a point on Saturday - a point is better than nothing. It could be that point which gets us into the play-offs or to the title, come the end of the season.

“We have got a busy couple of months. We’re playing teams in and around the top.

“We’re getting there. I’m still not 100 per cent happy with where we are as a team, but we’re beginning to get there.”

Bay keeper makes Team-of-the-Week

There was plenty to entertain the 401-strong crowd at Winch’s Field despite a lack of goals.

“It was a good game,” reflected Lovell. “Both goalkeepers played really well. There were lots of chances.

“First half, we had much the better of it and could have made more of our set-plays. We put so many corners and free-kicks into the box. I think we had 10 corners, which is a lot.

“If we had got a goal early on, I think we would have gone on to win comfortably. But, when you don’t score, it gives the other team motivation to keep that clean sheet.

“They had a couple of chances and our keeper, Harry, made some good saves.”

Indeed, free-flowing Herne Bay’s shut-out was just their third of the campaign and Lovell praised keeper Brooks’ performance.

He said: “Second half, he made one save in particular that was really good. He has done really well.

“Harry has taken his chance and is improving every week. He’s a good lad. He loves football and loves playing for the club.

“I’m really pleased for him.”

At the other end, Bay had a rare off-day in front of goal.

Lovell said: “We created quite a few chances. Mike (Michael Salako) - for once - didn’t score.

“He had two or three opportunities and their keeper stopped him scoring, and Sam German had a great header that their keeper saved. It was one where we could be playing now and no one would have scored! Both keepers were on top.”

There’s another tough test for Bay, who will visit Hythe’s Reachfields this Saturday, provided the game can be played after recent wet weather.

Lovell suggested: “They’re a good team.

“Their manager, Steve Watt, will be the first to admit that their pitch isn’t the best. We just have to hope that the weather dries out a little bit and it can go ahead.

“I remember going there last year with Ramsgate and the pitch was awful! But you have to play on it.

“There’s no point complaining about it, we’ll have to go there and dig in.

“They’re very direct with set-plays and long throws, and we will be preparing for that.”

Midfielders Archie Burnett and Bola Dawodu are set for spells on the sidelines, although striker Kane Rowland made his injury comeback off the bench against Erith & Belvedere.

Lovell said: “Archie is going to be out for a few weeks. He has done some ligaments in his knee.

“Bola is out for two or three weeks. He has got a calf strain.

“Josh Bexon, the other keeper, has a sore knee and will be out for a few weeks.

“But we have got a good squad now. Kane Rowland came back on Saturday.”

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