Fit for battle

Gary Hart Eastbourne Borough F.C. August 1st 2011
Gary Hart Eastbourne Borough F.C. August 1st 2011

Eastbourne Borough’s band of walking wounded are nearing a return to fitness as they travel to title-favourites Woking tomorrow.

Star summer signings Gary Hart and Gary Charman could both be available for selection following injuries and combative midfielder, turned target man striker, Eddie Hutchinson is set to return after a three match suspension.

No-nonsense defender Gary Elphick also returned to action during last weekend’s 2-1 victory against Havant and Waterlooville and came through the match relatively unscathed.

Hart, 34, has not featured for Boro’ so far this season. The former Brighton favourite was injured during a pre-season match against Hayes and Yeading and has not been seen since.

The addition of the battle hardened quartet will boost boss Garry Wilson’s side who have at times looked a touch lightweight in the hurly burly world of the Blue Square South.

Woking will no doubt provide a stern test for Borough. They are considered by many as the favourites for the title and have started their campaign in good form.

They are second in the table to Welling and have lost just once this season.

Boss Wilson knows his side have struggled against the so-called top sides in the division. They were well beaten on their travels at Dartford and Welling and suffered a poor home defeat against Chelmsford.

Wins against Bromley and Havant lifted spirits but the boss is seeking more consistency from his side.

Wilson said, “We have not got a great record against the better sides this season and it would be nice put that right.

“We are hoping Gary Hart will be fit. It will certainly be good to have him available but we have to wait. He is due to see the consultant and we will have to go on their advice.”

“Gary Charman is also getting closer and Eddie Hutchinson will be available once again. It does give us a few more options.”

Rapid winger Steve Brinkhurst will be keen to impress once again. The midfielder, along with fellow wideman Matt Crabb, were in scintillating form against Havant. Brinkhurst’s two goals capped a fine display from the former Brighton and Hove man

Wilson added, “This is a big year for Steve. I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet but on Saturday he showed everyone what he is capable of.

“He was in and out of the side when he first arrived but he’s had a run in the side and I think he’s benefiting from that.

“He is still young and still learning. We know he’s a good player but he has to show that consistently.

Striker Carl Rook faces a battle to retain his place in the starting XI with the return of Hutchinson.

Club captain Ben Austin was also due to undergo an operation on his groin this week and will likely be unavailable for selection for a further four to six weeks.

Ben Austin Column page 74