BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent boss Tom Rothery believes in-form striker Billy Hunt deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as other top scorers in the Bostik League.

Hunt took his premier division tally to nine goals with a brace in Saturday’s 2-0 success at Potters Bar Town.

It was a result that hoisted the R’s to 11th in the table – only four points adrift of the play-offs – heading into two crucial matches against other sides pushing for promotion, Folkestone Invicta and Worthing.

Rothery says the club’s revival – they were in the relegation zone six weeks ago - has been a genuine team effort but had special praise for Hunt, who also scored in the previous two matches against Tonbridge Angels and Bognor Regis Town.

“Billy’s doing brilliantly at the moment,” said the Regent boss.

“It’s not that he was playing badly earlier in the season.

“Now, though, like the rest of the boys, he’s playing with real confidence.

“I think it’s helped playing alongside Aaron Condon, too.

“They’ve got a really good relationship and understanding on the pitch but there’s also healthy competition between them, in terms of goals.

“That can only be a good thing.

“After scoring from the spot, Billy’s second goal tells you a lot about where he’s at confidence-wise at the moment.

“It was a ridiculously good finish and he’s getting back to the levels I know he’s capable of.

“He should be up there with the top scorers in the division because he’s every bit as good.”

Rothery is determined to keep his feet on the ground but believes Regent can keep pushing for a play-off spot.

“There are so many reasons why we shouldn’t be doing as well as we are, when you look at our resources and finances compared to other clubs,” he said.

“We’re a much smaller set-up than a lot of the sides we play.

“But on the pitch, with our strongest starting line-up available, I honestly think we’re a match for anyone. I genuinely believe that and have been saying it all season.

“We just want to keep this run going because it’s obviously so much more enjoyable when you’re doing well.

“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves but we’re definitely in contention.

“I’ve told the players to enjoy the feeling but want more.

“The only way they’ll get that is by working even harder, because you don’t get anything in life for nothing.”

Folkestone visit the Taydal Stadium on Saturday before Worthing make the long trip from Sussex next Tuesday.

“They’re two tough games, although I expect Folkestone and Worthing will consider it tough coming to our place,” added Rothery, who will check on the fitness of Harry Morgan.

“We certainly won’t play with any fear.”