Bognor boss Blake pragmatic after winning Performance of the Month

·3-min read
Nathan Odonkonyero scores from the spot in Bognor Regis' 6-1 win over Aveley (Tommy McMillan)

Bognor Regis Town FC manager Robbie Blake is keeping his feet firmly on the ground despite starting the season with silverware writes Alec McQuarrie.

The Rocks have been awarded the Pitching In Performance of the Month for their 6-1 demolition of Aveley on August 20, though that result was followed by consecutive defeats against promotion chasers Horsham and Potters Bar.

And the former Burnley forward believes the fluctuating fortunes of his side are representative of a strong Premier Division, in which Bognor currently sit ninth.

“The league is so competitive and there’s not much between the top and bottom, in my opinion,” said Blake.

“We’ve got a lot of young players who lack the experience of being successful at this level. That’s not to say we can’t be competitive, because I think we can, but we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground.

“It’s going to be a long old season for everybody, and we’ve got some talented players. We feel like we’re a good passing team and we like to play the game the right way.”

The victory over Aveley, who have won all four of their other league fixtures and sit second, showed Blake exactly what the team are capable of on their day and saw them become the first Pitching In Performance of the Month winners of the 2022/23 campaign.

The accolade is sponsored by Isthmian League partners Pitching In, a multi-million-pound grassroots sport investment programme established by Ladbrokes with the support of its owner Entain, and Blake was delighted by the recognition.

He said: “It was a very pleasing performance. They’re a competitive team and you have to earn the right to score the goals and I think we did that.

“You don’t want to sound disrespectful but over the game the performance did deserve the scoreline to be honest.”

Nineteen-year-old Nathan Odonkonyero scored a brace to take his tally to four from two games but Blake singled out an unlikely figure for praise while challenging his team to reach those levels on a more consistent basis as he attempts to imprint his philosophy on the squad.

“When you win 6-1, you could pick a lot of people for man of the match, but I think sometimes defenders may get missed,” Blake said.

“Craig Robson had a really good game at the back. While all the people scoring are getting the headlines, Craig showed rock solid defending and he’s a fantastic player.

“You notice his calming influence, his experience to try and nullify the strength of the opposition. He does a really good job of that.

“I want the ball to be played on the floor. But when we play on the floor I want us to be fast and flow with it.

“I want us to get the ball forward as early as we can but I want it with quality as well. I don’t just want hopeful balls in the channel.”

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/