Lambert: anything other than top two finish will not be good enough

John Lambert
John Lambert

By Ryan Newman

Eastbourne Town manager John Lambert says his side must be more clinical this season if they are to achieve their objective of a top two finish in the Southern Combination Premier and gain promotion.

Town will start their league campaign away at Lancing tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm) before hosting Saltdean United at the Saffrons on Tuesday in their first home league game of the season.

“Promotion, either of those two spots at the top, is what we want, definitely,” said Lambert.

“Anything else won’t be good enough.

“We want promotion, we came second the year before, fourth or fifth last year after a bad start and so if we can get a good start this year I think we’ll be there or there abouts.

“Being more clinical is an absolute must this year. We scored quite a few goals last year but we also missed a lot of chances when we were on top in games and then consequently let one or two in at the other end and that was probably our biggest downfall last season.

“We had chances in most games to put them out of reach and that’s what you’ve got to do because all the while there’s only one goal in it, other teams have always got a chance because you nearly always get at least one or two opportunities within a game.”

Town will look to their main attacking threats to all chip in with enough goals to see off the other sides in the Southern Combination Premier.

They have added reliable goal getter Liam Baitup from Eastbourne United to bolster their attack but they have also suffered a potential early setback with an injury to one of their key performers.

Lambert added: “Unfortunately, Jason Taylor who’s on fire, he played last week with a bit of an injury and it could be one that keeps him out for a few weeks.

“We think he might have a stress fracture and if it is, then the only way to heal it will be to rest him for four to five weeks.

“Obviously we have Liam Baitup who is a proven goal scorer at this level so we’re hoping he’ll get us quite a few.

“There is the potential of goals from other areas of the team but those two and Aaron Capon are probably our biggest goal threats this season.”

Club Captain Callum Sherriff will once again lead the side that has been improved by two excellent additions this summer.

Utility player Luke Denton has signed from rivals Eastbourne United and defender John Akoto has joined from Bostik outfit Hastings United.

“We haven’t signed too many players really because we had a decent side last year but we are really pleased to bring in Luke Denton and John Akoto, who played 16 games for a side that made the playoffs in the Ryman league last season.

“We still might have one more addition before we start, I can’t say who but we are talking to someone and hopefully that will get done on Thursday evening.

“If we can then he is another goal threat.”

Town progressed in the FA Cup preliminary round last weekend after beating Bearsted 2-1.

Early first half goals from Luke Denton and Jason Taylor were, in the end, enough.

Bearsted did pull a goal back just before half time but Eastbourne dominated the second half just without that killer third goal.

Town were awarded a penalty in the dying minutes but couldn’t convert and were lucky not to be taken to a replay after Bearsted broke well and almost scored from the resulting corner.

Eastbourne will travel to Sutton Common Rovers in the next round and Lambert knows they will have to be at their best after being knocked out by them in the Cup last season:

“We had enough chances to win probably two or three games and if we’d have won that game 6-1 they couldn’t have complained.

“But in the FA Cup it’s all about getting through and on to the next one, and we’ve been able to do that.

“Now we go to Sutton Common Rovers who play on Sutton United’s pitch. That’ll be a tough one.

“They knocked us out of the cup last year. We know a bit about each other and so it’ll be a tough game for sure.”