Hockey: Kerly plotting Southgate's downfall

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SEAN KERLY, 10 years on from his triumphs at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, returns tomorrow to his old hunting ground at Southgate. This time, though he is back as player-manager of the current EHL Premier leaders, Canterbury, in a top-of-the-table encounter. Canterbury are one point ahead of Southgate in second place.

Kerly, who is seldom in the starting line-up these days, said yesterday: "We have no injury problems and are at full strength." Asked if he would be taking the field as a player, he said: "I am certainly no longer a frontline boy now but I am always ready and able to give my boys a bit of a rest. It is a very big game and our focus will be taking the points on Sunday, not just remaining in the top four, and I expect to be playing my part."

The goal-scoring hero of Seoul did not expect the new water-based pitch at Southgate to present any major problems. "Most of the guys have played on the surface before. It will obviously be somewhat different to ours and it will take a little time to adjust to it. We will practice before the game to adjust to the speed. I certainly will look forward to playing on it."

Southgate have no injury problems but have decided to include former Canterbury defender Paul Livesey in their squad at the expense of the 1996 Atlanta Olympian Soma Singh. Livesey, who moved from Canterbury because he felt he was not getting enough time on the pitch, could be in for a busy afternoon if the Kent midfield clicks, as it did last week when they easily defeated Reading 4-1.

Canterbury, who are also taking a development squad for a second game with Southgate after the big match, also have a Kent Cup game the same afternoon.

Slough against Doncaster, a women's EHL Premier game at 11.30am, will be the curtain-raiser.

Over in south London, the neighbouring rivals Hounslow and Teddington play at Chis-wick in a crucial game near the bottom of the table, while a little further south, the First Division leaders, Surbiton, take on Indian Gymkhana who will be able to include the influential Gursharanjit Soor in their line-up.

Soor had his appeal upheld against his 60-day ban in respect of the red card given to him during Gym-khana's game with Oxford Hawks on 4 October.