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Margate manager Steve Watt looks ahead to trip to Brightlingsea Regent

By Mark Stokes

Margate extended their unbeaten run to nine matches on Saturday but Steve Watt says there is no way anyone at Hartsdown will be allowed to get ahead of themselves.

The Gate’s 1-0 home win over Lowestoft was their fifth Bostik Premier victory in a row, consolidating them in third spot, three points behind title favourites Billericay and former leaders Dulwich Hamlet.

The play-offs remain a distinct possibility but boss Watt said he is not looking beyond the next game, which is away to Brightlingsea Regent on Saturday.

Steve Watt Picture: Don Walker
Steve Watt Picture: Don Walker

Watt said: “For me the most important thing is the next game. I’m not even thinking as far as play-offs. We move onto Brightlingsea Regent, it’s as simple as that for this group.

“Certainly it’s always been my mentality that when you start to look beyond what’s in front of you, you normally get tripped up so you’ve got to focus on the next game.

“When you get in and around the end of March then maybe you can start thinking about the play-offs, but I think we’ve got the hardest run-in of any side in the play-off chasing pack.

“You look at the teams we’ve still got to play – Leiston, Folkestone, Hendon, Staines, Billericay, Dulwich, Met Police, we’ve still got to play everyone who is in and around the top.

“But I’ve got a side who give their all, first and foremost, and who, in big games this season, have shown up and gone beyond themselves. As long as we continue to do that, we’ll not be far off.”

Watt will be without injured defender Ben Swift for the trip to Brightlingsea. The young centre-half is likely to be sidelined for several weeks after picking up a hamstring injury during the 3-1 win against Kingstonian on January 29 .

Jack Evans scored Margate's late equaliser at Leiston Picture: Don Walker
Jack Evans scored Margate's late equaliser at Leiston Picture: Don Walker

Skipper James Rogers and Jack Evans will both miss the next two matches after accumulating 10 bookings but Watt says full-back Tom Mills is close to a first team return after playing 45 minutes for the under-23s against Whyteleafe on Tuesday.

He won't however be involved at the weekend.

Looking ahead to the Brightlingsea game Watt said: "When we played them here (on December 19) they were the better team for 45 minutes.

"We had to weather a storm in that first half but as the game went on we grew and grew and we won the game quite comfortably in the end (4-2).

"By no means will it be an easy game, Folkestone only beat them 3-2 on Saturday. They’re a high energy team, hard working and have done exceptionally well this season."

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