A 4-1 home win over Sittingbourne last Saturday, courtesy of two goals apiece by Tom Chalaye and Lewis Finney, means it is still mathematically possible for the Hillians to reach the play-offs.
But Herne Bay need to win only one of their final three games to put it of touch for Lovett’s men. Nevertheless he was delighted at the win – and has been highly encouraged by the form they have shown since December. “Since then it’s been play-off form really,” he told us. “It does make you think, ‘what if we’d been that bit more consistent from earlier in the season?’.
“But I think there’s been a lot to be positive about and we can certainly look forward to next season with optimism.”
Lovett has been working with a relatively young squad for this level of football but feels those emerging players will have learned a lot from a season of ups and downs and will be that much mature next season.
“In the past we’d be looking at bringing in four or five new players over a summer but this year I think it’s more likely to be one or two,” Lovett said. “They’re a great bunch, really close-knit, and I think that’s shown in performances like Saturdays, which I thought was one of our best displays of the season.”
While Burgess Hill still cling to an outside chance of nabbing fifth place, they will go all out to win their final games.
They visit Cray Valley PM – who are set to nail down a play-off spot – on Saturday then host Chichester on Monday, when a large crowd is likely.
Lovett said: “We want to finish the season with momentum that can serve us well next year.”
Their final game is at Three Bridges on Saturday week.