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Herne Bay boss Ben Smith says centre-half Laurence Harvey will continue in goal for their derby match against Ashford United

Manager Ben Smith has claimed centre-half Laurence Harvey will continue in goal for Herne Bay’s derby at Ashford.

The defender-turned-goalkeeper donned the gloves after regular stopper George Kamurasi went off injured with a dislocated shoulder and Harvey saved a penalty as 10-man Bay beat Sittingbourne 2-1 last Saturday.

While Smith admits he could move to sign another keeper, it’s outfield player Harvey, who played in goal in Bay’s 1-0 FA Cup victory against AFC Croydon Athletic in September, who appears in line to start between the sticks.

Herne Bay manager Ben Smith. Picture: Chris Davey
Herne Bay manager Ben Smith. Picture: Chris Davey

Smith, who expects to be without Kamurasi for six weeks, said: “In the short-term, Laurence has been comfortable there.

"He played in goal earlier in the season.

“I have centre-halves who can cover for Laurence.

“I will probably sign a back-up for Laurence.

"But he is happy doing it and I have no concerns over it.”

Fifth-placed Herne Bay are also set to be without defender Dan Carrington who will be banned after he was sent off in their home win against the Brickies.

Smith expects Tommy Warrilow’s Ashford team will be keen to get off to a fast start and test his team’s much-changed backline as they look for a response after losing at VCD last weekend.

“Of course they will,” the Bay boss said.

“But he (Harvey) is a decent keeper, I have no worries about that.

“I would not be putting him in goal for a game of this magnitude if I didn’t fancy him, would I?

“Ashford have signed some big names recently to try and win the league. We are looking at ‘can we get into the play-offs?’

“But after losing on Saturday, maybe they are looking over their shoulders. Who knows?”

A healthy crowd is expected for this Saturday’s encounter at Homelands.

Smith said: “We will bring a lot down. They have a vocal crowd and they get good home attendances.

“It all makes for an exciting Kent derby. That’s what we want, Kent derbies where there is the possibility of one of the two clubs going up (to Isthmian Premier).

“Ashford are probably ahead of us in their journey. They were up there last season and you can see Tommy has put his stamp on the team.

“It might be too soon for us, who knows?

"But we will see. I have a lot of belief in my players.”

Bay striker Zak Ansah is now the league’s top scorer with 24 goals and Smith said: “He has been a remarkable signing and he has lived up to the billing.

“I cannot fault his attitude. He never misses a training session and he stays behind after training to do extra work.

"His attitude is just class.

“If he gets 30 goals this season, we are going to be close.

"But I need someone else to step up.”

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