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Whitstable Town manager Lloyd Blackman reckons his side's two festive period matches in Isthmian South East could prove vital

Boss Lloyd Blackman reckons Whitstable’s next two matches could prove to be vital in their Isthmian South East play-off bid.

The Oystermen host Ashford on Boxing Day before a New Year’s Day trip to take on rivals Herne Bay.

Whitstable are currently five points adrift of Tommy Warrilow’s Ashford side who occupy the final play-off place.

Whitstable manager Lloyd BlackmanPicture: Alan Langley
Whitstable manager Lloyd BlackmanPicture: Alan Langley

“We are 10th in the league with two big fixtures coming up,” admitted Blackman.

“I think we will find out where we are as a side after these games. They (Ashford and Herne Bay) are two sides that are challenging for the play-off positions.

“But we have earned the right to be where we are.”

Whitstable will return to action following a 12-day break after their 1-1 draw at Ramsgate on December 14. Marcus Elliott was on target for the Oystermen in that game, while goalkeeper Dan Eason saved two penalties.

Blackman said: “It’s been a crazy first-half to the season.

“We had loads of fixtures at the start of the season, but now, we have gone 12 days without a game.

“So, we are chomping at the bit.”

Since winning the Southern Counties East League at the end of the 2016/17 season, the Nuts and Bolts have quickly adjusted to life in the Isthmian League, reaching the Isthmian South East play-off final last term where they fell to a 2-1 extra-time loss against Horsham.

Blackman said: “Tommy knows this league like the back of his hand. He has a good side down there.

“They were one of the promotion favourites at the start of this season and rightly so.

“(But) I think the atmosphere of a Boxing Day game can play a part, as well. It’s a unique fixture.”

Liam Dickson will need to be assessed ahead of the Ashford game (1pm kick-off), having recently picked up an Achilles injury.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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