Without doubt, tomorrow is going to be a fiery derby with a place in the Semi-Final at stake, says Ashford boss Ryan Norman

Friday 23rd February 2018

ASHFORD manager Ryan Norman will miss tomorrow’s Kent County League Eastern Division Les Leckie Cup Quarter-Final clash against AFC Ashford Athletic.

Norman was admitted to the William Harvey Hospital just after lunchtime today with severe stomach pains.

A club statement said: “After several blood tests it has become apparent he has quite a severe virus.  He is practically projectile vomiting every two hours and is in a lot of pain.

“He was discharged this evening but is on medication and has been told to avoid contact with people for a while to avoid passing the virus on.

“We hear he is absolutely devastated about not being able to make the game tomorrow but will no doubt will be cheering the boys on from home.  Let’s hope the boys can put in a solid performance for him in his absence.”

Ashford sit in the bottom three in the Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Division Two Central & East table with a playing record of four league wins, two draws and six defeats.

AFC Ashford Athletic, meanwhile, play in Division Three Central & East and go into the derby clash sitting in third-place in the table, with a playing record of nine wins, three draws and two defeats in the league, although Stuart Kingsnorth’s men are 14 points adrift of leaders AEI Sports.

The club play their home games at Homelands Stadium, which stages the Bostik South clash between Ashford United and Cray Wanderers tomorrow.

Before his illness, Norman said of the Pound Lees Sports Ground clash, “I have a great admiration for what Stuart has done footballing wise with his club. He’s taken them from being a local Ashford & District League side to now challenging for the Kent County Division Three Eastern Section title.

“The game has a personal element added in also as my brother Craig is their captain and I had a little period where I played for Stuart when returning from an injury a few years back, which worked really well for me.

“Without doubt, tomorrow is going to be a fiery derby with a place in the Semi-Final at stake.  Whoever gets the starting spots will no doubt be expected to give me their absolutely everything.  In a game of this magnitude I need all 11 starters at the races not six or seven.

“I’ll be setting my side up to win tomorrow. I’m not interested in the fact that we are a league above them. In my opinion, Stuart’s side with the quality they have could compete in this league no doubt.  Tomorrow will be defined by the team who wants it most and the team which can show that bit of quality in front of goal.

“It’s the biggest game to date of our season so far.”

Kingsnorth, meanwhile, added that “he was really looking forward to this one!”

Ashford  v  AFC Ashford Athletic
Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Les Leckie Eastern Section Cup Quarter-Final
Saturday 24 February 2018
Kick Off 2:15pm
at The Pound Lees Sports Ground, Marsh Road, Ham Street, Ashford, Kent TN26 2JH