It’s been a big week regarding results and our win last Saturday in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup has set up a mouth watering tie against our local rivals Dartford on 26th October. We went into the tie off the back of two very good league results and the players once again showed how resilient they are by restricting a team that had just scored five goals against Farnborough four days earlier, to one clear cut opportunity which was well saved by Preston, preserving a clean sheet.
The game against Dartford presents both teams with an opportunity to progress to the first round proper which comes with obvious financial rewards but also the opportunity to draw a league club in the next round. It also presents us with a huge local derby which many of the staff and players are experiencing for the first time.
We are all acutely aware of the significance this tie will have regarding local bragging rights and you can rest assured that the players and the staff will be very keen to put one over on our rivals. For now, we have to put that game very much out of our minds and concentrate on the league and the two tough games we have over the next four days.
We must continue to show the work ethic, commitment and unity that we have shown to continue to churn out results. There are no easy games in this league and recently we have made it very difficult for our opponents to go away with any kind of result and we cannot afford to relax and take it easy.
Both Andy Pugh and Grant Basey have been back out on the training field this week and have stepped up their rehabilitation. Grant might need another week but Andy should be fit for selection, if not today, then certainly for Tuesday’s game at Bishop’s Stortford.
On a private note it was fantastic to see England progress to the World Cup Finals in Rio next year and I was delighted for Roy Hodgson and the players who seemed to come in for some very unfair criticism leading up to the game. It beggars belief that a team who went undefeated and only conceded four goals in a very tough group came in for stick at all but I guess that’s life in modern day sport.
With more ways to post an opinion than ever it has become all too easy to vent any frustrations we may have. Quite often it is media-driven just to achieve higher listening figures or to sell a few more papers. I for one will be right behind the team next summer, and I know that all those involved will be trying to get England as far in the competition as they possibly can.