Thursday 13th January 2005

The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

Statham relishing Fisher clash

ERITH & BELVEDERE make the short trip to Champion Hill to play Southern League Division One East leaders Fisher Athletic on Saturday with a former Spurs player relishing the battle, writes Stephen McCartney.

Brian Statham, 35, made his debut for the Deres in last Saturday's vital 2-1 win at Sittingbourne, and the defender, who played as sweeper to shore up an in-experienced defence, is excited with the prospect of playing against Wayne Burnett's champions-elect.

Having already played against Fisher for East Thurrock United earlier in the season, there is no doubt Statham will pass on all his knowledge to Deres' 31-year-old boss Barry Lakin.

After the trip to Champion Hill, Statham faces his old team-mates when Erith & Belvedere play  East Thurrock United at Park View Road the following Saturday.

Statham said: "I'm extremely excited.  I pointed out to the chaps before last week's Sittingbourne game that we've got two big games coming up.

"It was important that we took three points at Sittingbourne to take us into the Fisher game.

"Fisher are a very good side.  I've played them once already this season.

"There as good a side I've seen - the best side - as they are up at the top and I am looking forward to it."

Statham, however, is hopeful his younger team-mates can raise themselves in the same capacity as Nationwide Conference heroes Exeter City in their 0-0 FA Cup third round draw at Old Trafford against Premiership giants Manchester United.

"I think the young boys will be looking forward to it as well," he said.

"I would expect they will lift their games because it's such a big game - inevitably people do against big sides.

"Fisher have spent a  lot of money and are rightly at the top of the league because they do play very attractive football but I am really excited and looking forward to it."

However, the former Brentford and Gillingham star, who has also taken in spells in non-league football, including Chelmsford City - where he first met the current Deres manager - and Welling United feels his experience at the top will help the Deres climb the table.

"I think the talent is there and a little bit more guidance from myself, Barry and the coaching staff, there's no reason why we can't look to nick the game against Fisher.

"We then take on East Thurrock at Park View Road, Welling, which is a super pitch to play football on and win another three points if possible as well."

Fisher Athletic v Erith & Belvedere
Saturday 15th January 2005
Southern League Division One East
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Dulwich Hamlet FC, Champion Hill, East Dulwich