King: we’ll get stronger and stronger

STEVE KING this week insisted his Rooks side will get “stronger and stronger” after their recent run of disappointing results was ended with two good results in the past week.

The Rooks enjoyed a good performance and victory away in the league at Leatherhead on Saturday, before putting in a goal-happy destruction of East Grinstead Town in the Sussex Senior Cup in midweek.

An angry King had threatened changes to his squad after the poor 1-0 away defeat to a struggling East Thurrock United side – and the Lewes manager was good as his word, with the introduction of quality Bromley midfielder Harry Harding.

Harding was King’s man of the match in the win over Leatherhead, a win that was more convincing than the one-goal scoreline suggests (see inside for match reports of the Leatherhead and East Grinstead Town matches).

“Harry is a very, very good player,” purred King.

“He’s had two years at Bromley. He signed for Reading who loaned him back to Bromley so he’s played the last two seasons in the conference south.

“He was released by Reading, he’s only 19 and he’s very energetic. He’s got a lot of energy and he’s a very good user of the ball. I (already) knew how good he was; he played against Farnborough a couple of times (when King was manager there). I knew he’d fit in and I think he was man of the match against Leatherhead.

And with former Reading teen ace Harding joining other recent new recruits in Alex Stavrinou and ex-Rook Albert Jarrett to the personnel at the Pan, King seems to have given his squad a timely shake up. Speaking yesterday, he said: “We will get stronger and stronger. We didn’t need wholesale changes, just a couple of changes.

“We totally dominated the game against Leatherhead; we had 70 per cent of the game and it was a fantastic goal by Michael Malcolm.

“We were the better team by a country mile, it would have been an injustice if we didn’t win – I don’t think they had a chance on goal and although we didn’t create lots of chances ourselves, the way we got it down and played the ball around resembled how I like it to be played.”

Rikki Banks, back at Lewes on loan from Eastbourne Borough following a twisted arm suffered by on loan keeper Fabian Speiss while training at Notts County, indeed had a quiet day between the posts. “Rikki did well,” said King. “He came in and kept a clean sheet. The fans didn’t want to see him go in the first place but he’s come in for us for a month’s loan and we’ll see what happens from there.”

“And Albert (Jarrett) is also very good, and very exciting. We experienced him for a little time here before, before he went off to Brighton.”

However, Jamie Cade, meanwhile, has also left the club and this week signed for Crawley Down. Cade, who admitted he needed to “eat humble pie” after prematurely announcing his departure from the club on Twitter a fortnight ago, had now signed for Ryman One South outfit Crawley Down.

King had nothing but words of support for the popular winger, saying: “Jamie just felt that he wanted to play and he wasn’t getting enough games. He came to me to ask if he could be allowed to move on. I totally understood; I couldn’t guarantee him games. He’s a good lad and he just wanded to play.”

George Nicholas has also left, having returned to Notts County following the end of the second month of his extended deal.

King also admitted he was still looking for another forward, despite the upturn in recent goalscoring form of Messrs Malcolm, Booth and Draycott. “I want someone that can convert the chances that we’ve been creating,” he said. “The league table doesn’t lie and 21 goals from 17 games isn’t good enough.

The defence I’m happy with: 17 goals conceded in 17 games: that I’m content with. But not the goals scored, I’m not.”

King said that any new striker brought in would again be on the “one in, one out” policy or alternatively as a favour from a person or a club amongst his many contacts in the game.

Of the games coming up this week, Harrow Borough tomorrow and the Met Police in midweek (both away), King said: “Harrow are capable of beating any team on their day and the Met Police are doing really well.

“But that’s the way this league is: if turn up on the day we’re good enough to beat any team in this division. If we don’t turn up we will get turned over.”