Published: 05:00, 20 January 2022
| Updated: 09:56, 20 January 2022
Sheppey United are keen to strengthen after losing a couple of key men in the last few weeks.
Tauren Roberts left the promotion-chasing Southern Counties East club at the start of the year and fellow wide-man Malachi Hudson has also departed, claiming personal reasons for moving on.
Manager Ernie Batten and his no.2 Marcel Nimani have already identified some possible additions. The Ites were beaten 2-0 by Glebe on Tuesday night and are four points behind leaders Chatham Town.
Assistant boss Nimani, speaking before the Glebe game, said: “It is disappointing to have lost Malachi, he hit it off straight away for us and became a key member of our squad.
“We definitely still have the quality in the squad but now we have lost Malachi and Tauren we feel we have lost a bit of depth, which is what we have wanted throughout the season, so we are in talks with a couple of players.
“We are very proactive with the recruitment side of things, we have an identity and we always recruit players that can embrace our identity.”
It’s not certain whether any new players will be in for the weekend, when Sheppey travel to Welling Town for a Kent Senior Trophy quarter-final tie.
Sheppey have a decent budget for their level but are always willing to involve the best young players at the club too. Frankie Dolby, who plays in a no.10 role, made his league debut on Saturday, coming off the bench in a 6-0 Premier Division win over Crowborough.
Dolby recently had a trial at League 2 Colchester United.
Nimani said: “He did well at Colchester and they gave him a few areas where he needed to improve on and they were happy for him to continue his progress at Sheppey and he is very committed to us.
“He played really well for the 20 minutes he came on for us.”
There are four under-18s who train regularly with the first team. Youngster Jack Marsh was also in the weekend squad.
Coaching those youngsters is a big deal for Nimani, who said: “It’s as pleasing as any medal as you can get in football from my perspective when you can bring on a young player, it is very pleasing for us.”
Sheppey’s big weekend win was set up thanks to a lively opening.
It was just what Sheppey had been working on.
Nimani said: “We identified that we have been having slow starts and that we had been conceding most of our goals in the first 15 minutes of each half. That is what we looked to improve on, we worked on it in training about making stronger starts and we scored our first two goals in the first 15 minutes.”
Mfula’s double kept his recent tally going and Nimani noted: “He has picked up a bit with his scoring and we do have goalscorers among the team. Warren has played three home games and scored four.”
Weekend opponents Welling have changed manager and improved their form since Sheppey last played them - aside from a couple of heavy defeats to Chatham - and that game wasn’t easy.
“We needed a late winner and they have had some incredible results recently [beating Glebe among others],” Nimani said. “You could argue they are a stronger side, and they were strong when we last played them.”
Sheppey are due to meet Corinthian in the delayed final of the 2019/20 Kent Senior Trophy on Tuesday, February 1 at Chatham Town FC.