Eastbourne Borough supporters and chairman hail 'Manager of the Month' Bloor

Every obstacle is an opportunity, they say, and boss Danny Bloor is only seeing positives as his Eastbourne Borough side welcome Hemel Hempstead Town to Priory Lane tomorrow (Saturday).

Friday, 31st January 2020, 12:30 pm
Eastbourne Borough boss Danny Bloor gives the thumbs up to his side during their draw with Concord Rangers. Picture by Jon Rigby
Eastbourne Borough boss Danny Bloor gives the thumbs up to his side during their draw with Concord Rangers. Picture by Jon Rigby

This week a little lobby emerged among Borough supporters, to nominate Bloor as the National League South Manager of the Month for January.

The award – still at the short-list stage as the Herald went to press – all too often goes to a manager at the top of the table, but the case for Danny is persuasive.

His Borough side, beset by injuries and squad changes, and exhausted after a gruelling Christmas programme, opened the New Year with a win over promotion-chasing Dorking Wanderers, and a string of combative draws has seen the Sports complete the month unbeaten in league games.

“Well, I don’t know about the National League, but he’s certainly my Manager of the Month!” smiled football chairman John Bonar this week.

“Danny is working his socks off for this club. His optimism is uncrushable, and he just knocks the obstacles aside one after the other like a row of dominoes.

"It’s great that the supporters are on board with what Danny is achieving.”

But if Danny’s job is currently safe, others are less comfortable. From Ole Solskjaer downwards, job security for managers is actually seldom very secure.

The Chelmsford City hot seat just got too hot for high-profile boss Rod Stringer, who parted company with the Clarets this week.

And Hemel boss Sammy Moore has also been feeling the heat.

Having rebuilt the Tudors’ squad last summer, with a whole clutch of strong, experienced players, Moore had guided his team to the top of the table by late autumn.

But a few stumbling results turned into a full-scale downward helter-skelter, with just one win in fifteen games.

The Sports visited Vauxhall Road in late October, under caretakers Sergio Torres and Scott Chalmers-Stevens, and snaffled a useful point in a 1-1 draw with a goal from Greg Luer.

Since then, the Tudors’ spluttering form has seen them fall to eleventh in the table, just three places above Borough.

You’ll be thinking this is a good time to play them then, Danny? Think again.

“Hemel have just signed five new players, and their squad is full of experience. It will be a very similar challenge to last week's."

The Sports rescued a point against a hard and physical Concord Rangers last Saturday - with an equaliser grabbed by Bloor's latest raw diamond, Ade Gbolohan.

“Ade was recommended to me, having played for a number of clubs in the London area.

We brought him in to train for two or three weeks, and we liked what we saw.

"As chance would have it, there was a place on the bench and he grabbed that chance admirably.

"He is still young with bags of potential, and we are all about giving players that opportunity.

“In similar mode, Stephane Bombelenga grabbed his chance two weeks earlier, and but for a warm-up injury, he would have started against Chelmsford.

"These boys are full of football and for my coaching staff and myself, it’s a joy to be working with them.”

There is likely to be more player movement before Saturday’s kick-off, with a loan player lined up from a Championship club.

First choice goalkeeper Tom Hadler remains frustrated by a knee infection.

“Yes, we have missed Tom for five weeks now, and it’s no disrespect at all to Scott or Franco (Ravizzoli) but we need our number one keeper.

“All games are tough. In that respect we treat every opponent the same.

Hemel Hempstead got a very unfortunate result on Tuesday, losing by a late goal to Weymouth.

"We have to do our homework on every club, and we will be prepared for Saturday.

“It’s no secret now how we ourselves are going to play. Our first requirement is to out-work the opposition. Out-work, out-run, out-battle.

"Against Concord last week, we were not at our best, but through sheer endeavour and commitment we got a result.”

When you glance at the league table, Danny, do you look up, or down?

"“Don’t write us off climbing higher. We don’t need fancy ambitions, just realistic targets.

"We are not good enough to think we can win without working – but that realism is bringing us a point here, a point there.

“I said before Christmas that my brief was to maintain our National South status, and to keep the season alive with a cup run. Well, we are right on track with both of those objectives.

"We now have a Senior Cup semi-final to look forward to, against Peacehaven. Sergio and I went over to see them beat Lewes on Tuesday night, and they will give us a heck of a game.”

The Sussex Senior Cup clash has been scheduled for Wednesday, 26th February (7.15pm) at Lancing FC, the Sussex FA headquarters.

Mid-table and the prospect of an Amex final to follow? Bloor, and Borough, would settle for that.