A waiting game is having to be played by Herne Bay over where defender Sam German’s immediate future lies.
German has been with the play-off chasing Isthmian South East side on loan from Bromley since September.
He had played regularly - and well - in that time, scoring twice. But he wasn’t in the Bay squad for Tuesday’s 3-1 victory at Chichester.
National League promotion-chasers Bromley are eager to ensure teenager German plays as high as possible and Bay boss Steve Lovell hopes to find out more about his short-term future ahead of this Saturday’s trip to Phoenix Sports.
He said on Wednesday morning: “It’s a strange one, to be honest. I’m leaving it to Bromley to sort out.
“They want him to play as high as he can. Sam is agreeing with that - but it’s got to be the right club because I think he likes it with us.
“There’s one club that wants to take him in the league above. But they’re struggling and there’s more travelling involved.
“Hopefully, we will find out before Saturday one way or another.
“I would love to have Sam back, obviously, but with DC (Dan Carrington) coming back, he can do a job there.”
Two-goal striker Kane Rowland and forward Gil Carvalho struck at Chichester before the hosts earned a late consolation.
Lovell, also without defenders Harrison Pont and Tom Hanfrey, as well as midfielder Jacob Gilbert, reflected: “DC (Carrington) played alongside Friendy (Liam Friend) and he was my man-of-the-match. He was excellent.
“He took his opportunity and played really well. But it was a good all-round team performance from the first whistle. We went 1-0 up and then got a second in the second half.
“I was disappointed we conceded at the end but it was a good goal for them.”
Bay had to change things around to adapt without their first-team regulars while under-23 trio Carter Wilson, Louis Reavill and Sean Aromolaran were unused substitutes as they earned a third straight success.
“That’s the most pleasing aspect,” enthused Lovell. “We had quite a few out and we signed three under-23s who were on the bench on Tuesday.
“But we have got DC back, we have got Gil back, and Frankie Smith is a regular in the team now.
“We have got players like Tom Hanfrey, Ponty and Sam German who weren’t available.
“When we have everybody fit, it’s a strong squad. It was nice to give Bola Dawodu 10 minutes for Archie Burnett on Tuesday.
“We’re keeping everybody ticking over because we will need everybody before the end of the season. It’s just a balancing act.”
Rowland’s strike partner, Michael Salako, has largely taken the limelight this campaign. But eight-goal Rowland – with six in his last nine - isn’t doing badly, either.
Lovell, whose Bay team won 2-0 at home to Merstham through goals from midfielder Danny Walder and winger Theo Osinfolarin’s penalty last weekend, said: “He was out for a while with a little foot injury.
“It took him a little bit of time to get himself back fit.
“Him and Mike are striking up a good partnership, with Gil just behind.”
A promising start to 2024 has moved Bay back on the fringes of the play-offs in sixth.
Lovell noted: “We knew teams would catch us up because of the games they had in hand. But it’s all right having games in hand, you have to win them.
“Hopefully, it’s settling down now. The top two (Ramsgate and Cray Valley) are going away a little bit and I do think it will be between those two.
“After that, it’s going to be a battle. After Saturday, we have Sittingbourne, then Hythe and then Lancing. So, there’s a lot of tough games coming up.
“We need to keep picking up the points.”
Bay visit strugglers Phoenix Sports this Saturday, who they beat 2-0 at home in September.
But Lovell warned: “It will not be easy going to their ground. It will be different to what we’re used to at home.
“We will go there full of confidence - but not with so much confidence that we just relax.
“We’ve got to keep working hard because it will be a tough game.”
Pont and Hanfrey may return for the Phoenix Sports clash while Gilbert’s comeback from work commitments has been earmarked for next weekend.