Continuing progress pleasing EP boss Paine

Midfielder Jack Barnes is put under pressure during East Preston's win at Broadbridge Heath on Saturday. Picture by Steve Robards
Midfielder Jack Barnes is put under pressure during East Preston's win at Broadbridge Heath on Saturday. Picture by Steve Robards

Bob Paine has been delighted with East Preston Football Club’s recent Southern Combination League Premier Division form.

A 2-0 triumph at Broadbridge Heath on Saturday made it just one defeat in five after a near eight-week break due to the poor weather.

Paine’s team were denied the chance to build on their impressive run as the scheduled league visit of Lancing on Tuesday was postponed owing to overnight snowfall.

East Preston sealed an immediate return to the SCFL Premier Division last season and are well placed in 14th position.

EP boss Paine won promotion from Division 1 in his first season in charge and has been pleased with the way his inexperienced squad have coped making the step up this campaign.

He said: “The way my team have performed after such a long time without a game over Christmas has been really impressive.

“Since our first game of this year, which wasn’t played until last month, we’ve only lost one game in five.

“The target has always been to achieve a mid-table or just-above finish and we are well on course to do that.

“It’s a big time for us between now and the end of the season, we want to continue the good work we’ve put in.”

East Preston’s rearranged fixture with Lancers looks set to take place next month – meaning they’ll have eight games in March.

After welcoming fifth-placed Saltdean United – a team they’ve beaten in two different cup competitions this campaign – East Preston then play three of the current bottom five in their next four fixtures.

East Preston have won two of six matches against the current bottom five teams, an area that Paine wants to see improved.

He added: “We’ve beaten Saltdean twice this season and lost by just one goal when we played them away in the league. They’ve got a squad full of talent but we’ve shown already this season that we can beat them.

“The good thing about this little run we’ve been on of late is we’ve managed to win against teams in and around us in the table.

“Over the next five games we play three of the bottom five, so it’s a chance for us to take points from teams below us.”

Paine is satisfied with his squad at present but admits he’s always on the lookout for new additions.

“It would be silly of me to say we aren’t looking,” Paine added.

“You never know who could become available to add extra quality to your squad.

“I’m happy with what we have at this moment but I would never rule anything out.”