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Former Gillingham boss Steve Lovell open to staying on as Ramsgate manager next season

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Steve Lovell is open to the prospect of staying on as Ramsgate manager next season.

Former Gillingham boss Lovell took charge initially until the end of the season earlier this month following Matt Longhurst's departure.

Ramsgate manager Steve Lovell. Picture: KPI
Ramsgate manager Steve Lovell. Picture: KPI

The play-off chasing Isthmian South East side had lost four straight games before Lovell’s arrival - and Welshman Lovell, assisted by son Mark, has been unable to turn things around so far.

But ex-Ashford boss Lovell, who would want to add more experience to the squad if he’s kept on, said: “I’ll speak to James (Lawson, chairman) if he’s interested.

“I like the club and I like what James is doing at the club. I’d like to have a go because these boys are good.

“They are hard-working boys who give everything, and I’d like to help them improve.”

But the Rams are now on a six-match losing streak and they are five points behind fifth-placed Herne Bay with only two games left to play this season.

Ramsgate's hopes of finishing in the top five are all but over after they lost 4-2 at second-placed Ashford on Saturday despite goals from Ben Fitchett and substitute Karn Miller-Neave in either half.

Lovell reflected: “It’s a tough one to take.

“We started the game well but, obviously, we conceded a goal after seven minutes from a free header. We got back in the game and equalised, and I don’t think there was much between the teams in the first half.

“I think we played the better football in the first half. They got a penalty and the third goal looked way, way offside to me. But you have just got to get on with it.

“I thought we played decent at times. What we are is a young team and we need to really get experience in to help the boys.

Action from Ramsgate's match at Whitstable which ended 4-1 to the Rams on New Year's Day - the teams meet at Southwood on Easter Monday. Picture: Les Biggs
Action from Ramsgate's match at Whitstable which ended 4-1 to the Rams on New Year's Day - the teams meet at Southwood on Easter Monday. Picture: Les Biggs

“There’s only two games to go this season and, if we are here next year, we have got to look at that and look at strengthening in those kinds of areas.”

Ramsgate will host bottom side Whitstable on Easter Monday before ending their campaign at Chichester.

While Lovell admits things are out of their hands, he has not entirely given up on sneaking into the play-offs.

He commented: “It’s out of our hands now. All we can try and do is beat Whitstable on Monday and Chichester on Saturday, and hope that Herne Bay and Cray Valley (in fourth) slip up.

“But the four-game losing streak before I came in put us out of the play-offs, whereas we had been in them all year. We can only do what we can do with the boys we’ve got.

“They are good boys, they train hard and work hard, but just need a little bit of direction.

“I feel we haven’t had enough time to put it into them - but we will do, if (we are) given the chance. We’ll see.”

Lovell also believes some of the players didn’t like the playing style under Longhurst as Lovell tries to put his own stamp on the squad.

“I have got a way of playing, and they (the players were already used to) a certain way of playing,” he stated. “The boys have been doing something for 35 weeks that someone has implemented.

“The boys have just said it’s hard for them to change because it’s a style that they have been used to.

“It’s a style perhaps most of them didn’t enjoy, to be honest, but it was getting them results. So that overrides it.

“But I think the boys are better than that. There are styles and systems that they can play, and we have got to get them to create, using their abilities. But we’ll do that.

“Hopefully we can then build for next year and see how it goes.”

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