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Sacked Margate manager Reece Prestedge confident side he has assembled can turn form around despite Isthmian Premier struggles

Sacked Margate boss Reece Prestedge is confident the team he’s built will turn their poor form around.

A run of seven games without a win has left Margate just above the Isthmian Premier relegation zone, with last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Enfield Town the final act for Prestedge who was relieved of his duties on Sunday lunchtime.

Reece Prestedge – has spoken following his Margate departure. Picture: Ian Scammell
Reece Prestedge – has spoken following his Margate departure. Picture: Ian Scammell

But in their seven-match winless run, Gate only played at Hartsdown Park twice - drawing 1-1 with Haringey and losing 2-1 to play-off occupants Billericay.

Margate, scheduled to visit Whitehawk in the Velocity Cup tonight, have back-to-back home Saturday league matches against mid-table Carshalton this weekend and fellow strugglers Kingstonian.

“I don’t doubt the team at all,” said Prestedge, who’s now looking forward to spending some more time with his young family.

“Obviously, not every game is perfect and goes the way you want it to go, but I have no doubt that they will turn it around.

“I would just have liked our next two home games after five games out of six away from home to prove that we can turn it around.

Gate ended a long wait to win the Kent Senior Cup again under Reece Prestedge, beating Chatham on penalties at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium in May. Picture: PSP Images
Gate ended a long wait to win the Kent Senior Cup again under Reece Prestedge, beating Chatham on penalties at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium in May. Picture: PSP Images

“I did it last year and kept us up. I couldn’t see why we couldn’t do it again - and maybe even push higher because it’s very tight.

“We’re three points from mid-table and if you look at the next two games - with no disrespect to those teams - they’ve both been on bad runs, as well, and I think home advantage would have played a part.”

Gate came close to ending their winless streak at Bognor Regis through striker Steve Cawley’s brace last Tuesday, only for the hosts to get a late leveller.

“The results haven’t been what we wanted,” admitted 37-year-old Prestedge. “But in three of those games, there’s been last-minute goals.

“We’re only three points off the expectation level. The expectation level is mid-table and, with us being three points off of that, it’s a bit of a strange one.

“Even those two points dropped at Bognor puts you 13th or 14th. Then, you’re a point behind mid-table and three points behind the top-half of the table.

“But I would still like to thank the club for giving me my first opportunity in that role. I know it’s a good club.

“The fanbase has always been positive, always backed us and so I certainly cannot knock that side of it.”

There was silverware for Prestedge while in charge of Gate, too, as the Thanet team beat Chatham on penalties at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium in May to claim the Kent Senior Cup.

Prestedge noted: “It was the first time that Margate had won it since 2005.

“I kept us up last season and we had made a good start to the season. I just think they (the board) are looking at seven games, basically, and I’ve got the chop.”

Prestedge - a midfielder with Maidstone, Welling, East Thurrock and Bishop’s Stortford where he made more than 200 appearances in his playing days - would love to get back into another managerial role - but isn’t in a rush to do so.

He said: “I’d like to get back into it. I think I’ve got a lot of potential. I’ve got a very good player pool from playing at various levels. I know what it takes. It’s a bit raw right now, obviously.

“But I’ve had some phone calls about coming in and being part of other things already. I’ve had phone calls of support from other managers in the same division and stuff like that as well. It’s nice to have that bit of support.

“I’ll have a break for a little while, assess everything and just make sure that it’s the right time for me.”

Player-assistant Ben Greenhalgh has been left in temporary charge alongside coach Elliott Leveson, although Phil Roberts has departed as player-coach.

Young Margate midfielder Daniel Duncanson has joined Isthmian South East Phoenix Sports.

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