Pulling gone ahead of big Easter weekend

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PLAYER-assistant manager Mark Pulling has left Worthing Football Club ahead of a big weekend in the hunt for a Ryman League Division 1 South play-off place.

Rebels travel to Merstham on Saturday (3pm) and then host local rivals Bognor Regis on Monday (3pm) and, on Pulling’s departure, Worthing boss Chris White said: “Mark needs to decide if he wants to play or be a coach.

“His playing career is behind him in my view and he’s not the future of the club. People like Bradley Lewis and Harvey Sparks are the future of the club, so Mark wasn’t going to be playing here and he wants to play all the time.”

Rebels fell a place to fifth in the table – the final play-off place – after their 1-0 defeat at home to Folkestone on Fans’ Day at Woodside Road on Saturday when a crowd of 336 – Rebels’ highest home league gate of the season – watched the game.

Worthing now have five league games left and lead sixth-placed Maidstone only on goal difference, although have a game in hand, and White said: “All five are big games now and we’ve got to go out and try to win all five.

“We keep getting ourselves into positions when we can open up a bit of a gap but don’t take advantage of it and it’s going to go to the wire now.”

On the games over Easter, White said: “Merstham will be a tough game. They got a new manager a couple of months ago and have had some decent results but it’s all down to us. On our day, we’re capable of beating anyone.

“Hopefully, there will be a big crowd on Monday when we play Bognor. I get on well with Darin Killpartrick and Jamie Howell (Bognor’s joint managers) but I’ll be wanting to beat them as much as they’ll be wanting to beat me.”

Matt Piper is struggling with a hamstring injury, but dual-signed Lancing defender Sam O’Regan could come into Rebels’ squad for the game with Merstham.

Brighton & Hove Albion season ticket holders can get into the game with Bognor on Monday for just £5 if they show their season ticket card at the turnstiles. Normal admission price is £9 for adults, £5 for senior citizens and students, and under-16s are free if accompanied by a paying adult.