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Sittingbourne told by Isthmian League they can't sign emergency cover for injured goalkeeper Harley Earle

Ryan Maxwell criticised the Isthmian League after they refused Sittingbourne permission to sign emergency cover for injured goalkeeper Harley Earle.

Earle suffered multiple facial injuries, breaking his cheekbone, nose and eye socket, in the Brickies’ 1-0 win at Faversham at the end of March - two days after the league’s registration deadline passed.

Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell. Picture: Randolph File
Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell. Picture: Randolph File

Boss Maxwell sought permission to complete an emergency loan but was turned down on the grounds they had another senior goalkeeper - former Ramsgate, Ashford and VCD stopper Sam Mott - on their books.

That was news to Maxwell, who contacted Mott, only to discover the veteran keeper had retired.

Instead, they’ve turned to young reserve keeper Alfie Rogers, who is set to make his debut in tonight's rearranged Isthmian South East home game against VCD (7.45pm).

The fixture had been due to take place on Saturday but was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Maxwell said: “We all know the emergency loan rule is for goalkeepers - that’s what it’s there for.

“They can’t tell me this wasn’t an emergency but, incredibly, they refused us the opportunity to sign another goalkeeper.

“I inherited Sam Mott’s registration. I didn’t know he was available and he wasn't.

"I spoke to him but he’s got his kids to look after and doesn’t play any more.

“As far as he’s concerned, he’s retired.

"I’m really disappointed with how the league have treated us.

“I brought up that the National League allowed Welling to sign a goalkeeper on emergency loan after their goalkeeper was called up for international duty.

“That’s not even an emergency, because they knew he had international duty coming up, but they didn’t want to hear what decisions other leagues had made.

“There was very little point in me speaking to them - it was a waste of time.”

The league’s refusal to budge means an opportunity for Rogers, who’s been recalled from a loan spell at Southern Counties East Division 1 club Staplehurst.

Maxwell is backing the 20-year-old to deliver.

“We move on, as we always do,” said Maxwell.

“We’ve got a young lad who plays for our reserves and has been out on loan.

“We called him back, he’s trained really well and he’ll be more than adequate for what we need. He’s a good lad.

“The club where he was playing were very understanding.”

Sittingbourne will move seven points clear of the relegation play-off places, with four games to go, if they win tonight.

"If we win, I'll be able to start thinking about next season but I still have my own goals this season," said Maxwell.

“There’s three goals I’ve told the players they have to chase.

“One is to chase down 10th place, another is to have the best defensive record in the league since I took over and the third is to top the form guide since I took over.

“They’re all achievable and that’s what we’re going for.

“We’ve got to keep pushing until the last kick of the season.

“Everyone’s got an opportunity to impress for next season and the players are under no illusions that I expect them to attack these goals with everything they’ve got.”

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