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Herne Bay manager Ben Smith has concerns over return of Isthmian League football

Herne Bay boss Ben Smith has reservations over the return of Isthmian South East football.

December 19 has been announced as the resumption date for league games although clubs are permitted to play fixtures a week earlier if mutually agreed.

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

As a football man, Smith wants to play but he has concerns with the country in the middle of a second wave of Covid-19.

Smith, a teacher in Margate, said: “We’re coming back but I don’t know how. The pandemic seems worse than the first time around. Down this way, five of my seven year groups are off school.

“In an ideal world everyone would wait for a vaccine but obviously at some point everyone’s got to get on with life.

“The mental health aspect plays a massive part, doesn’t it? We’ve got supporters whose life is Herne Bay.

“Taking that away is a big hit, so, yes, we’ll be guided by the FA and the government and whatever they feel.”

It’s been a mixed start to the campaign for Bay, whose first game back is due to be at Haywards Heath.

Having been set for a play-off spot before last season was scrapped, they’re 10th after six games this term.

“I’ve been happy enough with performances but the results haven’t followed,” said Smith.

“We’re plainly a better side than our league position.

“We can make all the excuses but we’ve got to crack on and work hard to get things right.

“The last lockdown was bad for us because we were the form team in the division.

“This time, we have to make sure it’s been good for us.

“It’s given us a chance to regroup and get ourselves going.

Tom Carlton has left Herne Bay for neighbours Whitstable Picture: Alan Langley
Tom Carlton has left Herne Bay for neighbours Whitstable Picture: Alan Langley

“When you’re in form the results fall your way. Even when you’re playing badly, you still end up nicking three points at the end and you get the rub of the green. At the moment it’s not like that.

“We’re either way too high or way too low.

“It’s the end of the world when we lose and it’s like we’ve won the league if we win.

“We need a culture change, to find that middle ground.

“That’s something I need to learn and our football club need to learn, it really is. Never too high, never too low.

“Everyone’s got to settle down and the results will come.

“At the moment, we seem to build our own pressure where everyone’s panic stations if we lose.

“Let’s not forget, before we came, the club had been fighting relegation since they’d been in the Ryman League, bar the odd season. We’ve just got to take a step back and go again.”

Bay are looking to strengthen their midfield after two departures. Tom Carlton has joined neighbours Whitstable, while Jordan Hibbert has been released.

Smith said: “We’re now looking at incomings and are talking to a few at the minute.”

Whitstable have brought forward their game at Phoenix Sports to December 12.

Unbeaten Faversham, like Bay, start the following week at home to Burgess Hill.

Canterbury are set to resume their Southern Counties East campaign at home to Erith Town on December 12.

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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