Whitstable Town vs Sittingbourne Preview
Whitstable Town vs Sittingbourne Preview

A tremendous amount of planning, effort and thought has gone into Sittingbourne’s pre-season, and how successful it’s all been will be put to the test in Saturday’s opening league game at Whitstable Town.

Or more realistically, that kicks off a short space of nine days by which time Sittingbourne will have played four important games and their season will be really taking shape.

Following the game down the road at Whitstable, Sittingbourne’s first home game of the newly-named BetVictor Isthmian League South East Division season will take place on Tuesday evening when newly-promoted Cray Valley PM are the visitors to Woodstock.

Following that it’s another home game, and a big one it is too, when the Brickies play Uxbridge in the preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup.
And as if that wasn’t enough excitement, Sittingbourne will be in action
48 hours later, on Bank Holiday Monday, away to ambitious Ramsgate, who have been reshaping under ex-Brickies boss Nick Davies.

But first up are Whitstable, and it’s a quick return for Sittingbourne, who were last there in March when they were beaten 2-1.

And it was quite a surprise as Whitstable went into the game on a poor run of results that had seen them sucked into a battle against relegation, while Sittingbourne had won their five previous games and were seemingly in their best form of the season.

But Whitstable proved tough and determined opposition and held out for a narrow but deserved win.

Both clubs have experienced mixed fortunes in what has been a long pre-season build-up, Sittingbourne using many of the friendlies to try out new players, tactics and formations, which meant sacrificing results on occasions.

None of that will matter if it all falls into place on Saturday to justify manager Chris Lynch’s optimism that the club are in for a successful season, with a play-off place his hoped-for target.

He thinks the club are in a much better position than last season, when they finished 16th, and have strengthened both the backroom staff and the team itself.

They have a nucleus of players from last season, including regulars like captain Chris Webber, Lex Allan, Lewis Chambers, Tom Fagg and Chris Barnard, and these are supplemented by others who have come back again for the new challenge and some potentially exciting new signings, too.

Whitstable have changed managers since last season and are now led by former Ramsgate boss Lloyd Blackman, who has signed plenty of new players, including ex-Sittingbourne midfielder Luke Girt.

Getting off to a positive start would be a huge confidence boost for the team that wins, and Lynch is positive that Sittingbourne’s players will be going flat out to make sure it’s them.