Rooks number two keeper Pawel joins Bridges

Pawel Szelemej
Pawel Szelemej

Lewes number two goalkeeper Pawel Szelemej has left the club to join Ryman South strugglers Three Bridges.

The Pole is one of three new signings aimed at getting the Crawley-based side out of relegation trouble in their first ever season in the Ryman League, following promotion from the Sussex County Football League last season.

They are currently five points adrift at the bottom of the league after notching up just four wins and 15 points from 23 matches. The other new recruits are Crawley Town U18 players Romone McCrea and Moshood Olafunmshe.

Bridges’ Paul Faili said: “Our new signings all look really good and I’m looking forward to them helping us rise up the table.”

Lewes club secretary Kevin Brook said: “Dual registration is not possible for a player between clubs in the same league, so when Three Bridges made their approach for Pawel we agreed to release his registration.”

Lewes First Team Assistant Manager (and Under 18 boss – see below) Nick Brown said Szelemej’s work schedule often made it difficult to be available for Lewes games, but added that the locality of his new club would help him in that respect.

“He lives up in the Crawley area,” said Brown. “He can walk to the Three Bridges ground if he wants to.”

At the time of going to press it was still not clear if the temperatures would rise sufficently to allow the Rooks’ game at Wingate & Finchley to go ahead.

Some at Lewes were confident that the games will go ahead as scheduled although others were more pessimistic, given the weather forecast for that part of London.

If it does, Layton Schaaf will be available again after a two-week skiing holiday, while Callum Donaghey would have been unavailable last week due to work commitments had the game against Margate not been frozen off. He is available again tomorrow. James Fergany made the most of Margate postponement to shake off a niggling injury he had been carrying.

Because of the Margate call-off, Jack Walder will now miss the Wingate and Whitehawk games through suspension – unless that is Wingate is called off, in which case he will miss Whitehawk and Concord Rangers.

That Concord match will kick off at the Dripping Pan at 2pm on February 9 due to a late kick off at the Amex. The new date for the Margate game has now been confirmed as Tuesday March 12, 7.45pm.

Lewes U18 midfielder Bradley Lewis is currently having a trial at Brentford.

Lewis joined the Rooks from Worthing in December and went out on loan to county league Arundel. He has so far played one trial game for the Bees, against Gillingham.

“He has been playing for Arundel in centre mid,” said Lewes U18s boss Nick Brown.

“He was going to be on the bench for one of the Lewes 1st XI games that was postponed.”

Brown said Lewes would have been happy to see Jon Dollery’s loan period extended but his international commitments with Canada meant the defender would have been away for too many matches.

Dollery has now gone back to Crawley Town and Brown said: “He’s back off to Canada soon. He came and helped us out during a busy period. But we need someone who’s going to be there week in week out. I’d rather have the U18s settling into the team or squad.”

Brown said the Lewes players were ‘itching’ to get back to match action after an enforced two week lay-off due to the Margate postponement.

“Everyone is itching to get going again,” he said. “We got a fair few of the boys in for a group chat and they were all asking when are we back playing.”

The players were this week due to have a team-building five-a-side session, on a part of the Dripping Pan pitch that was still playable following the recent frost.

“Everyone is enjoying their football at the moment,” said Brown. “It’s a case of keeping that going.

“They’re all itching to get back on the pitch.”