Veteran striker Rocky Baptiste all set for Eastbourne Town home debut

Rocky Baptiste
Rocky Baptiste

Eastbourne Town have strengthened their squad ahead of Saturday’s FA Trophy tie with East Thurrock United at the Saffrons tomorrow (Saturday).

Both manager Tony Reid and assistant Sammy Donnelly have recently spoken about being on the lookout for new players, and their hard work in the transfer market has seen them bring in forward Rishi Nankani, midfielder Charlie Gee and keeper Sam Johnson-Freeman from Sandhurst Town, left-back Miles Mitchell from Horsham and striker Rocky Baptiste.

Baptiste,40, comes with bags of experience and is something of a cult figure in the footballing world, most notably for his previous heroics in the FA Cup.

For Farnborough, in 2003, he scored in a tie at Arsenal, and whilst playing for Havant & Waterlooville in 2008, his goal earned a third round replay with Swansea, where he would score in a famous victory to force a fourth round tie with Liverpool at Anfield.

The new additions will be a welcomed boost for a squad that has been stretched in recent weeks, and as assistant boss Donnelly said, “we’re still in the market for more new players.”

Baptiste is likely to come in for Billy Medlock who is serving a one-match ban and all or most of the new signings could play some part as the assistant boss revealed that changes were likely.

Fellow new boy Mitchell is cup-tied, however, and James Vaughan also misses out through suspension. Skipper Steve Elliot, Matt Hall, Luke Denton and Nathan Daly are all still injured.

It will be a tough ask for Town, although Donnelly, who was actually manager the last and only time these two sides met back in the 1980’s, believes if they can iron out the mistakes which proved so costly last weekend, they have every chance of causing an upset.

“It’s going to be difficult but it’s a good test to see how far we’ve come,” he said, “We started very slowly last Saturday but we finished strongly.

“If we start the way we finished on Saturday then we will be absolutely fine.”

See Wednesday’s Gazette for match report.