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Herne Bay manager Steve Lovell explains why friendly at home to Margate will be played on Friday night ahead of double family birthday celebrations

Birthday plans can go-ahead within the Lovell household this weekend – thanks to a little help from Margate.

Isthmian South East Herne Bay host Gate in their latest pre-season friendly tomorrow night.

Herne Bay boss Steve Lovell – turns 63 on Sunday, two days after their home friendly against Margate. Picture: Ian Scammell
Herne Bay boss Steve Lovell – turns 63 on Sunday, two days after their home friendly against Margate. Picture: Ian Scammell

The warm-up match was organised prior to the arrival of Bay boss Steve Lovell and his son - and assistant - Mark earlier this summer.

Both Steve and Mark celebrate their birthdays on Sunday, the latter turning 40, so a family gathering had been arranged.

That left Bay looking to move their friendly against Gate forward, something the Isthmian Premier outfit have agreed to.

Manager Lovell explained: “The game was organised before me and Mark agreed to come.

“It was arranged for Saturday. But on that Sunday, it’s Mark’s and my birthday.

“Our family has organised a weekend for me and Mark so we asked Margate if they can put it forward. They said ‘Yes’.

“It means we can go-ahead with our plans. It’s Mark’s 40th, so we have got a big do.

“It would have been a bit disappointing to cancel all that.

“But Margate agreed so we’re very grateful to them.”

Bay continued their pre-season preparations with a 5-0 win against Southern Counties East Division 1 Canterbury City on Saturday. Lovell wasn’t entirely happy with what he saw, though.

“It was nice,” he said.

“I was just disappointed with the first half. We created a lot of chances but were not clinical enough. I know it’s pre-season, but we need to get into good habits.

“But I cannot be too critical of the boys.

“They worked really hard and controlled the whole game.”

Trialist Emmanuel Morrison netted, as did Bola Dawodu, Gil Carvalho, Theo Osinfolarin and Samson Maagbe.

“Emmanuel has come to us,” noted Lovell.

“He was recommended to me to have a look at, so I did. He did well on Saturday.

“I don’t think anyone will have a problem fitting in with us. It’s more about how many people we can have.

“I don’t think he has played at any high level. I believe he has been training at Cray Wanderers.

“I was told he was available to have a game with us, so I played him. I don’t know if he will go back.

“If he joins us, fantastic. But if he doesn’t, you cannot do anything about it at this level.”

Bay also signed attacking midfielder Jacob Gilbert this week.

Lovell, set to turn 63, said: “He’s full of energy. He’s a good player, he has good intelligence and enthusiasm.

“He’s someone we’re looking forward to adding in the midfield. He reads the game and can get a goal.

“He’s done well in pre-season and will fit in nicely with us.

“He can play a number of positions as well - right-back, right-side midfield and No.10.

“It helps when you don’t have the biggest of squads.

“He has fitted in nicely. I think it’s the same with all the boys.

“Although it’s a new squad, they have gelled well together. We’re just working on things we need to get right for the season.”

Bay have been drawn to visit Corinthian or Bedfont Sports Club in the FA Cup Preliminary Round on August 19 and will host Leatherhead on September 9 in the FA Trophy First Qualifying Round.

“They’re all tough games,” Lovell said.

“I think, when the season starts, all the cup and league games will become real.

“All we can do is prepare ourselves and get people in good shape. If we can keep doing that throughout pre-season, that allows us to be in a confident mood.

“We’ll look forward to all the games.”

Bay, who won 2-1 at home to Lewisham on Tuesday, welcome Deal to Winch’s Field next Tuesday.

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