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Sheppey United striker Dan Bradshaw on target for SCEFL Division 1 side K Sports after Isthmian South East games against Horndean and Beckenham are postponed – striker returns for home match against Merstham

Sheppey United return to action on Saturday after back-to-back postponements but one man who hasn’t stopped is their star striker Dan Bradshaw.

The Ites had their weekend game at Horndean postponed a week on from the match against Beckenham also being a victim of the weather.

Dan Bradshaw has scored two in two for K Sports during Sheppey United’s enforced break Picture: Marc Richards
Dan Bradshaw has scored two in two for K Sports during Sheppey United’s enforced break Picture: Marc Richards

Bradshaw was keen to keep active, however, and was on target for K Sports in a 3-3 home draw against Bridon Ropes that also saw Sheppey team-mate Javaun Splatt score. The week before he netted in a 3-3 draw for the Southern Counties East Division 1 side at SC Thamesmead.

The striker admitted he was apprehensive about going back to K Sports - who are managed by Sheppey boss Ernie Batten’s sons Ian and George Batten - after having his nose broken the last time he was there, appearing for them on the way back from injury earlier in the season.

“I was a little nervous,” he admitted. “It’s two leagues down, they aren’t going to just let you have the ball, they come flying in and I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to go back.

“In the two games I played they knew who I was, they aren’t stupid. As soon as we kicked off the centre-halves were on me, saying ‘Bradshaw, what you doing here!? How much do you get paid!? Blah, blah, blah.’ It wasn't a massive thing but straight off both big centre-halves man marked me all over the place.”

Sheppey are at home to Merstham this Saturday and Bradshaw wanted to keep active, knowing he needed to stay on top of his match sharpness to be able to do what he does best.

He said: “It has been quite nice getting some minutes when the games have been off because at my age, as one of the senior ones, it is nice to keep the minutes going.

“For me, it is important to keep the minutes rolling, and two weeks out of match fitness for me could be the difference between getting a goal or not. You can't replicate match fitness in training.

“I know that from experience two weeks out, you lose sharpness, lose fitness, lose pace, I was quite happy with the opportunity to go, even though it’s a couple of levels down and last time I was there I ended up in hospital until 3am trying to get my nose snapped back into place!

“I came through injury-free this time and scored in both games but it wasn’t the same. It’s always nice to get on the scoresheet but getting goals for Sheppey, my team, is a lot more important to me.

“I didn’t have to play, the gaffer gave me the choice, but I want to keep sharp, keep fit and hopefully get goals for Sheppey.”

Isthmian South East table

Weekend opponents Merstham are 16th in the Isthmian South East table but shocked leaders Ramsgate with a 2-0 win on their last away game - their only away success in the league this season.

Bradshaw said: “It just shows that anyone can beat anyone on their day, it doesn’t matter who you play, every game you have to play as if they are the best team.

“Did Ramsgate have a bad game or Merstham play unreal? It’s mad.

“Them beating Ramsgate is good for us, we wouldn’t underestimate them anyway but it does ram home that if they are on it then they can beat the best in the league. So we have to be on it because if we lose games like that you might as well kiss the play-offs goodbye.

“You don’t really have an easy game in this league, every game for us we are pushing for the play-offs and everyone wants to get in there, I have never played in them before and you have to beat the likes of Merstham, they are the gravy games.

“We’ve got eight games left against mid-table teams or below and we have to pick points up against them otherwise we aren’t going to get in.

“We had an analysis session with points predictions and stuff and if the rate the teams are going continues we’ll finish a point off the play-offs, so all of us know we have to up our game a bit here.

“Matt Longhurst (director of football) has come in and given us a lot of information on the tactical and analysis side of things in the first team squad. He has done well with the players he’s working with, we’re implementing things in training and if we take it into games I think we will improve.

“I do think if we play the way we can play we will make the play-offs but anyone can beat anyone.”

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