We know it’s going to be difficult against Workington and we’re going to have to make sure we do a professional job and give them the utmost respect but knowing that there’s a massive carrot at the end of it, says Bromley boss Neil Smith

Thursday 01st February 2018

BROMLEY manager Neil Smith says he is taking their FA Trophy Third Round tie up at Workington on Saturday seriously as he aims to guide his home-town club into the Quarter-Finals for the first time in their history.

Bromley have certainly put in the miles during the competition this season.  They came away from Hampshire based side Hartley Wintney with a 2-0 in the First Round before making the trip up to the North East to beat Blyth Spartans of the Vanarama National League North 4-1.

The full-time Lillywhites are in seventh-place in the Vanarama National League table with 50 points from 31 games and presently occupy the final play-off berth and are just six points adrift of league leaders Macclesfield Town.

Hosts Workington play two levels lower than Bromley and go into the Third Round tie in seventh-place in the Evo-Stik Premier Division with 46 points from 29 games, a couple of points adrift of Warrington Town, who ended Ebbsfleet United’s interest in the competition last time out.

Bromley will be leaving London Euston on Friday lunchtime and will be staying at a hotel in Whitehaven before boarding a coach to Workington on the day of the game and commuting after the match, hopefully with a place in the last eight in the bag for the very first time.

“We’ve done the travelling before so that shouldn’t be a problem,” said Smith.

“We’ve played opposition from lower divisions so we know what we’re encountering so nothing should be a shock to us but we’re going there knowing it’s going to be difficult.

“It’s going to be blood and thunder like everybody else has done. Hartley Wintney did it and Blyth did it, we’re not expecting anything different to a team that scores goals. The conditions that are up there will be quite difficult to get the ball down and play so we have to play that as well but we’re thoroughly looking forward to it.”

Smith is taking the game seriously to avoid being on the end of an upset. 

However, Workington have something that Bromley are striving for – they were a Football League club up until 1977 when they were replaced by Wimbledon.

“How do we avoid a shock? By winning! It’s all down to the attitude of the players that have been absolutely first class,” said Smith.

“We know they’re going to come at us and give it a go. We’re prepared for them and we’ve prepared like any other team that we’ve played this season.

“We’ve got to hope that we turn up on the day and do what we know that we’re good at.

“We’re preparing like it’s a league game. We’ve done Gateshead and done Barrow and Blyth, which are all up there, so nothing’s a shock.

“We’re doing exactly the same preparations as we’ve done for every one of those games and nothing changes. We’re not doing anything different and we’ll go out there and give them the respect they deserve being at this stage of the competition.

“We have to make sure we’re on it fully to make sure we get through to the next round.”

Bromley’s last visit to Wembley Stadium was back in 1949 when Romford were beaten 1-0 to win The FA Amateur Cup and Bromley are potentially in line for two visits to the national stadium, the Vanarama National League Play-Off Final and The FA Trophy Final all being well.

Smith said: “Let’s get to the Quarter-Finals and then we’ll worry about everything else afterwards but it starts giving you a chance but we’re not counting our chickens yet.

“We know it’s going to be difficult against Workington and we’re going to have to make sure we do a professional job and be professional and give them the utmost respect but knowing that there’s a massive carrot at the end of it.”

Smith says he is taking a full-strength side up to play at Borough Park.

Smith said: “How can you take this competition lightly?  It gives a non-league team a chance to win something. We can only win the National League championship or win The FA Trophy. It’s a national competition so there’s no way I’m going to take it lightly. 

“I want to do the best we can. I want to have a fantastic run. I want to give the supporters something back so we’ll give it the respect like I give everything else so we’ll not take it lightly at all.”

Bromley should be taking around 100 supporters up to the game and Smith does not want to let them down.

“That’s the other reason,” added Smith.

“If someone’s willing to pay that sort of money and I know it’s hard earnt money, to come and watch us play and support us, I have to give the competition respect.

“The supporters have been fantastic and have come a hell of a long way over the competition and in The FA Cup (Rochdale in the First Round) and in the League as well and we always seem to finding whoever’s the furthest in the competition we’ve got to play them and it’s no different with Workington.

“I appreciate the supporters going up there and I’ll make sure the players’ give their all for them.”

Smith revealed that he has found a replacement for Southampton-based striker Brett Williams, who made his Torquay United return in their 1-1 draw against Macclesfield Town last weekend.

“Brett wanted first team football, I couldn’t guarantee him it. The travelling, he comes a long way, which started probably affected him a little bit and Torquay came in for him and he wanted to go so I allowed that,” explained the Bromley boss.

Smith announced that striker Brandon Hanlan, 20, has re-joined the club on loan from Charlton Athletic until the end of the season.

MAJOR COUP: Bromley boss Neil Smith has re-signed striker
Brandon Hanlan, 20, who scored four goals in eight games during his previous loan spell at Hayes Lane.
Photo: Bromley FC

“We’ve always kept tabs on Brandon since his time with us so it was a no brainer when the opportunity came up to bring him in,” said Smith.

“He’s available for Saturday and it’s a major coup.  Other club’s wanted him and we managed to get it across the line this afternoon.

“The club and player know each other very well and hopefully this can help us kick on for the rest of the season and adds additional firepower up top providing competition to those already playing.

“I’m delighted welcome Brandon back and thank the board for allowing us to enhance our squad even further to keep us challenging in the League and FA Trophy.”

Goalkeeper Max Huxter has also returned. The 22-year-old has been involved in and around the club for many years and has also enjoyed spells at Cray Wanderers and Burgess Hill Town.

Meanwhile, winger Dominic Vose has left Hayes Lane in search of regular first team football.

Visit Bromley’s website: www.bromleyfc.net

Workington  v  Bromley
The Buildbase FA Trophy Third Round
Saturday 3 February 2018
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Borough Park, Workington, Cumbria, CA14 2DT