GEORGE Sykes is hopeful Canvey Island’s match against Grays Athletic tomorrow has a little less drama than the last meeting.

The Gulls won the reverse fixture 6-3 at Parkside in a match that saw Danny Heale’s team almost throw away a 4-0 lead.

Sykes, who scored twice and missed a penalty in that match, suffered defeat in Canvey’s last league match - going down 1-0 at Hertford Town.

The setback was Canvey’s first in 13 league matches and 12-goal Sykes is looking for a return to form tomorrow.

“We have been going well,” said the 23-year-old. “We lost in the league for the first time since August last weekend but have been getting plenty of points on the board.

“We didn’t play badly against Hertford, we just couldn’t get the goal we thought we deserved.

“We play Grays who have had an up and down season and I have only just got over the last game,” he added.

“It was a crazy game. We went in 1-0 up at half-time and there were eight goals in the second half, and it should have been more.

“We wanted to go out and get that cushion as we had played well in the first half and we scored three goals in eight minutes to go 4-0 up.

“But then they did exactly the same and the panic started to set in on the pitch.

“Thankfully, it settled down in the end and we want it to be less excitable tomorrow. There shouldn’t be any doubt of the result if you are 4-0 up.”

Sykes recently spurned the advances of big-spending Billericay Town to remain at Canvey.

And he says, having left Canvey for Braintree Town for a brief spell in the summer, he is happy where he is at the moment.

“They put a seven-day approach in and I had to decide whether I wanted to go or stay,” he said.

“I am happy where I am at the minute. I left in the summer for three weeks and I didn’t want to do that again. I don’t want to leave halfway through a season with things going so well and that was it.”


THE PREVIEW: Canvey and Grays have already served up one of the matches of the season, with the Gulls targeting three points that could lift them back to the top of the Isthmian North.

A 6-3 win in the reverse match, Canvey have been involved in some high-scoring matches against Thurrock opponents this term.

In the three matches against Tilbury and Grays so far this season, a remarkable 22 goals have been scored - with 14 scored by Canvey.

Grays have hit some form in the league after a poor start and are unbeaten in a month.

Four wins from the last six games make this an exciting prospect.

MEN TO WATCH: Sykes is Canvey’s top scorer but Mitchell Gilbey is in a rich vein of scoring form. The winger, who has been playing in a more attacking role, has eight goals so far this term.

WHEN & WHERE: 3pm, tomorrow at The Frost Hire Stadium, Park Lane, Canvey Island, SS8 7PX

WHAT THE BOSS SAID: “There is a lot of history between the two clubs as we were both in the Conference not long ago but we are where we are now,” said Heale. “We beat them heavily recently and they will want to get revenge I am sure.

“We were the better side against Hertford and unlucky not to get a point but we had a good win on Tuesday (against Saffron Walden in the Essex Senior Cup) and we want more of the same. Grays will have to come and have a go.

“There are seven or eight teams that are capable of going on a run in this league so we need to keep winning.”

TEAM NEWS: Canvey have a fully-fit squad.