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Sheppey United boss Ernie Batten warns against complacency ahead of Southern Counties East League home game against Punjab United

Sheppey United manager Ernie Batten won’t be getting fooled by the league table ahead of their home game against Punjab United.

The promotion-chasing Ites are facing a team sitting 16th in the Southern Counties East League table this weekend but Punjab have been giving some good teams a run for their money.

Sheppey's Greg Benbow takes a tumble against Erith Town in last weekend's Kent Senior Trophy clash Picture: Andy Jones
Sheppey's Greg Benbow takes a tumble against Erith Town in last weekend's Kent Senior Trophy clash Picture: Andy Jones

A wary Sheppey boss said: “They are in hot form after beating Tunbridge Wells and claiming a creditable draw against Hollands & Blair.

“I am expecting a really tough game. They are on the up and will be raising their game at our place.

“Forget that table, just look at their last few results. They’ve signed a couple of players, they’ve beaten Wells 3-0 and drawn at Blair, so we know we will have to be at our best to get a result.”

Batten is still looking at new recruits to add to his team, including a striker, to help fill the void following the departure of Rob Denness.

His game-time has been limited due to a troublesome ankle injury which hasn’t helped the player’s fitness.

Batten said: “It’s not worked out for Rob here and he’s been struggling with injuries.

"He went on against Beckenham after 20 minutes but was then subbed off. It was the right decision to make and as a manager you have to make tough decisions.

“I am a big fan of Rob, I remain a big fan and if he can get back fully fit then he will be a superb player.”

Batten was hoping to have given Cray Wanderers striker Tom Murphy a run-out at the weekend but he was struggling with his fitness too and in the end failed to make the substitutes’ bench. He was called away to attend his pregnant partner.

Renford Tenyue started the Kent Senior Trophy quarter-final against Erith Town, which Sheppey won 1-0. He made his debut after joining on loan from Sevenoaks.

Batten said: ”He did okay. He is quick, strong and can play right and left-back. He cramped up in the second half but hadn’t played for a few weeks.”

Callum Emptage is expected to be back available this weekend after being cup-tied for the Erith fixture. Defender Jamaal Hewitt-Mundle will hopefully have shaken off an injury while Connor Wilkins should also return.

Hicham Akhazzan picked up an injury and is a doubt while Billy Bennett will be suspended after a red card on Saturday for two bookings.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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