Sittingbourne v Faversham Town preview
Sittingbourne v Faversham Town preview

They’re the nearest neighbours to Sittingbourne geographically, they’ve got exactly the same number of points as each other this season, and matches between the two clubs so far this season stand at one-all.

So it’s very close already between Sittingbourne and Faversham going into Saturday’s local derby at Woodstock.

Sittingbourne have had a topsy-turvy season on their way to 29 points, standing second top at one time and dropping right down to second bottom at another.

They’re currently 13th, having won four out of their last five games to dramatically hoist themselves out of the immediate relegation zone.

Faversham have also had an in-and-out sort of season, but have won three out of five in February, including an impressive 1-0 win over Whyteleafe last Saturday.

Sittingbourne’s progress under new manager Chris Lynch has been staggering – four wins in five games in February, three of them in away matches.

That included a 2-1 win at high-riding VCD last Saturday thanks to two spectacular Chris Barnard goals, and a 5-0 demolition over struggling Three Bridges in midweek, the goals shared by Roman Campbell (2), Izzy Adebayo, Timmie Babbington and Henry Woods.

That was the first clean sheet Sittingbourne had kept in the league all season, but they also kept one when they first played Faversham this season.

They won 2-0 at Salters Lane in October in the FA Trophy, Nathan Elder and Harrison Hatfull getting the goals that day.

But when Sittingbourne returned there in the league a few weeks later, they under-performed and went down to a disappointing 3-1 defeat.

Faversham’s team still includes evergreen defender Matt Bourne, who graced his home town Sittingbourne’s side for years, as well as young full-back Danny Divine, who was previously on loan from Gillingham at Sittingbourne.

Divine’s last game for Sittingbourne was the defeat at Hastings in January, which was also Aslan Odev’s final match as manager.

It was after that defeat that Lynch was appointed, and after a difficult start when he had to field patched-up teams to replace players who had left, the improvement has been incredible.

February has been manager-of-the-month stuff with players buying into his management style, and producing performances full of confidence and energy as they improve week on week.

They’ve set the standard now, and will need to carry on where they left off at VCD and Three Bridges as Faversham make the short trip up the A2 on Saturday.