Monday 26th September 2005

The league is our priority, insists Dolby
Quotes taken from www.tonbridgeangels.co.uk with special permission
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Tonbridge Angels' player-manager Tony Dolby is keeping his players feet on the ground ahead of their important Ryman League Division One clash against Croydon Athletic at the Betterview Longmead Stadium on Tuesday night, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Angels' booked their place in the FA Cup third qualifying round thanks to their "great result" at Ryman Premier League side Fisher Athletic at the weekend, but face important league games against Croydon Athletic, Lymington & New Milton and Molesey before they can even contemplate their trip to Nationwide Conference North outfit Worcester City in the next round of the FA Cup on 8th October.

Tonbridge were knocked off top spot in the Ryman League Division One after Horsham's 2-1 win over Whyteleafe on Saturday, but Dolby knows how important their bread and butter is - as well as a money spinning FA Cup run.

"Whoever we drew we didn't mind as we are playing good football," he told www.tonbridgeangels.co.uk

"Saturday was a great result (3-2) against a formidable opponent and hopefully we can carry that into the next round."

Looking ahead to their trip to Worcester, Dolby added: "Yes it's disappointing to get a long away tie but Ruthers (assistant manager, Mike Rutherford) and I have played at Worcester before.

"They are a good side but right now struggling in the Conference (North) and we will go there in good spirits believing we can get a result."

The Angels, however, have three important league games to play - and two of them are away from home, but Dolby doesn't want his side to slip up with their FA Cup run - they are now only two wins away from the first round proper - taking centre stage.

"We also intend not to lose focus on the league as that is our number one priority," he said.  "However, a good cup run is good for morale and the bank balance, which can only in turn help our league campaign."

Angels' chairman Nick Sullivan, however, was disappointed being drawn away from home.

"I'm slightly disappointed to get an away tie especially one involving such a long journey," he said.

"However, the chance to play a team two levels higher is exciting and, given the team are now playing, not one to fear.

"Hopefully we can get a result as this is where the prize money (the club would have collected £12,000 in total if they win at Worcester, following their wins against Horsham, Hastings United and Fisher Athletic) and gate money can become quite significant."

Meanwhile, solid central defender, Steve Aris undergoes an operation on his nose on Tuesday and will be sidelined for up to six weeks.  Dolby is in negotiations with a higher level club to hopefully secure his replacement on loan.

And the Angels are in negotiations with Worcester City officials in an attempt to move the kick off time or date of the third qualifying round clash to avoid the England game. 

The players will be travelling the night before the game to prepare properly.

Kent football is guaranteed at least two sides in the fourth and final qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Nationwide Conference side Gravesend & Northfleet, who have yet featured in the competition, will be joined by Margate or Cray Wanderers, as the two sides have been drawn together at Hartsdown Park.

Three other sides have been drawn at home. Bromley entertain Southern Premier League side Mangotsfield United and Folkestone Invicta await the winner of the Croydon or Staines Town replay at Croydon Sports Arena on Wednesday night.

Jim Ward's Ramsgate host Walton & Hersham, the side that knocked AFC Wimbledon out of the competition at the weekend.

As we know Tonbridge are on the road, and so are Nationwide Conference South side Welling United, who travel to Ryman Premier League side Harrow Borough.

Which game do you want www.kentishfootball.co.uk to cover on FA Cup day?

Please email Stephen McCartney with your suggestions.


Tonbridge Angels v Croydon Athletic
Ryman League Division One
Tuesday 27th September 2005
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Betterview Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge