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Sittingbourne manager Chris Lynch used to share a dugout with Herne Bay boss Ben Smith

Chris Lynch faces the man who gave him a job when Sittingbourne host Herne Bay this Saturday.

The Brickies boss worked as head coach under Ben Smith at Canterbury at the start of last season but left with the aim of becoming a number one.

Sittingbourne manager Chris Lynch Picture: Chris Davey
Sittingbourne manager Chris Lynch Picture: Chris Davey

He achieved that a couple of months later, at Sittingbourne, while Smith joined Herne Bay last summer after being sacked by City.

Lynch said: "Ben wanted me to go there and help him put something special together - they wanted to try and compete for the championship.

"We did well but ultimately I was going to be looking quite quickly for a manager's job and I left in the November knowing an opportunity might be coming up.

"I wasn't in contact with Sittingbourne at that time - it was two or three other clubs - but then Sittingbourne came up in the January."

Herne Bay are fifth in Isthmian South East but Sittingbourne, whose game at Haywards Heath last weekend was rained off, are out to halt their good run.

Lynch said: "We're looking forward to this game.

"It's an interesting one because they've moved up to fifth but we're looking to do something about that.

"Ben took quite a few players from Canterbury with him and they're players we know well.

"It will come down to whoever turns up on the day and outplays the other.

Liam Middleton, right, scored a hat-trick for Sittingbourne's development side Picture: Alan Langley
Liam Middleton, right, scored a hat-trick for Sittingbourne's development side Picture: Alan Langley

"They're definitely capable of hurting us if we take them lightly, which we won't be."

Tom Loynes launched his comeback from knee surgery by turning out for the development side last Thursday.

He came through unscathed but the star of the show was winger Liam Middleton, who scored a hat-trick.

Lynch said: "Liam did really well. It's a case now of him making the step up to the first team.

"He's made quite a few appearances, and he scored the winner against Sevenoaks last season, but we don't want to rush him and put too much pressure on him.

"It's important we ease him in gently but I believe in him and he will definitely come good.

"He probably needs 20 or 30 games under his belt at this level to be where he needs to be.

"He'll be involved on Saturday. It's whether we start him or put him on the bench."

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