Rooks draft in former player as defensive cover for opener

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Lewes have brought in former player Andy Pearson as defensive cover for the opening games of the season.

The ex-Rook has been drafted in as a temporary defensive option while centre back Ben Austin is injured and Tom Vickers is suspended.

Lewes assistant manager Danny Bloor told the Sussex Express on Wednesday that he and Rooks manager Garry Wilson were looking to bring in “possibly another defender in, before Saturday,” adding that it would be a “Conference dual signing.”

And the Rooks confirmed later that day on Twitter that: “We welcome Andy Pearson back to the Pan. Andy is currently with (Whitehawk) @comeonyouhawks and signs for us on a dual registration ahead of the season.”

Bloor confirmed that Austin was “unlikely to play against AFC Hornchurch”, the Rooks’ first league game of the season, which takes place in Essex tomorrow (kick off 3pm) but added that the former Eastbourne Borough and Town man “could be available for Tuesday night” when Lewes play their first home game of the season against Hampton & Richmond (7.45).

Bloor added that Austin’s position was helped by him coming off as a precautionary measure during Lewes’ 5-1 defeat at Whitehawk on Saturday as soon as he felt a twinge in his hamstring.

“We took him off straight away on Saturday,” he said.

The Rooks are a little light on numbers for their first game of the season, with Matt Crabb, Vickers and Dan Smith all suspended from disciplinary measure picked up at their their previous clubs last season. So Pearson’s presence will be a great help to the Lewes management.

Bloor confirmed that it was expected Pearson would only be available for the first couple of games of the new season.

He added that both he and Wilson would have been happy to keep both Joe Kay and Layton Schaaf on their books for the coming campaign but both felt they needed to leave to play regular football.

“We couldn’t guarantee them football,” said Bloor, adding that the option of dual registering them both with lower division clubs but that “wasn’t what they wanted to do”.

And of Ben Godfrey’s departure this week, Bloor said: “He wouldn’t have got the opportunities that either he or we would have liked of him.

“He’s a really good lad, and as a human being he made a really good impression with us. We sincerely wish him well.

And Bloor issued a rallying call to fans for the coming season, saying: “That (AFC Hornchurch) will be a tough game but we have two home games after that (Hampton & Richmond and then Canvey Island tomorrow week).

“We would like the people of Lewes to get behind us.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, we’ve had some positive signs and some not so positive signs in pre-season, but the group is gelling together and the commitment has been A1.

“Get yourself down to the Dripping Pan and you’ll see a committed group of individuals working as a team.”

The squad going into the first game is as follows: Matt Armstrong-Ford, Rikki Banks,

Matt Crabb, Ryan Fergany, Jacob Peake, Kelvin Brown (dual registered with Ringmer), Tom Vickers, Steve Brinkhurst , Jordan Stubbings, Sam Crabb, Jay Lovett, Nicky Wheeler, Nathan Crabb, Fraser Logan, Jack Dixon , Sam Gore, Ade Olorunda, Ben Austin, Dan Smith, Jack Walder, Ross Treleaven, Josh Marshall, Callum Connor, Tyrone Madhani.

Of Callum Donaghey, Bloor said: “He’s not close to full fitness yet but his attitude has been excellent and we want to give him every opportunity to prove himself to us.”