Friday 25th February 2005

07979 418 360

Fleet look to bomb Slough out of Trophy

GRAVESEND & NORTHFLEET - Kent's sole survivors in the FA Trophy - have a very good chance of making it through to the last eight of this year's competition but they have to get past a side renowned for their cup exploits this season, writes Stephen McCartney.

Slough Town make the trip to Stonebridge Road on Saturday with the confidence they can knock out the Nationwide Conference club on their own patch having reached the second round proper of the FA Cup as well as reaching, the not so glamorous, last four of the Bryco Cup.

The Berkshire side - who groundshare Windsor & Eton's Stag Meadow ground - were the side beaten by their Ryman Premier League rivals Yeading in the second round of the FA Cup, 3-1 at Stag Meadow, missing out on a lucrative tie against Premiership side Newcastle United.  

The West Londoners, as you recall, put on an impressive display against the Geordies live in front the BBC Cameras at Queen's Park Rangers' Loftus Road.

Playing a side with such a good cup pedigree this term, Gravesend & Northfleet boss Liam Daish is anticipating a hard clash - but is confident his side will have enough about them to reach the last eight and on course for a Villa Park return for the showpiece final.

The Fleet played Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round in 1996 and I'm sure the club's fans would love a return.

Daish said: "To be still in a national trophy, we've got a fair chance of progressing and everyone around the club is looking forward to it.

"You don't know when these days come around again so you've got to grab them with both hands and go for it.  It might be a while before you're at this stage again with a good opportunity to progress."

Daish, who will be without the cup-tied duo of goalkeeper James Pullen and defender Nathan Bunce, added: "We've got a great chance, but as I say it is only a chance at the moment, we've got to go out there and do it."

Daish knows a lot about his side's opponents and he added: "They've had a great year cup wise and they look like they've been up for the cups as they've done brilliant to get to the second round of the FA Cup and obviously still in the FA Trophy.  We will give them the respect they deserve. 

"At the moment, on paper, they are a cup side and we should be able to deal with them.  But they will be full of energy, they are pretty young but without being too optimistic it's all about what we do.

"If we get our game right and we start quickly then we should have too much for them.

"But it's a cup and you never know what's going to happen."


                   Full FA Trophy Fifth Round Draw
Gravesend & Northfleet v Slough Town
Burton Albion v Morecambe
Cambridge City v Hucknall Town
Eastwood Town v Hereford United
Woking v Carlisle United
Altrincham v Grays Athletic
Stamford v Exeter City
Canvey Island v Bishops Stortford

How they've reached the last Sixteen:

- - - Preliminary - - -
- - - First Dorking H 7-0
- - - Second Chelmsford
A 1-0
Eastbourne Borough H 0-0 Third Hendon H 4-3
Eastbourne Borough A 1-0 Replay - - -
Histon H 2-1 Forth Thurrock H 1-0

Gravesend & Northfleet v Slough Town
FA Trophy Fifth Round
Saturday 26th February 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Stonebridge Road, Northfleet