We just hope one year it's going to be us, says Bromley boss Neil Smith
BROMLEY manager Neil Smith says he is expecting a tough game against Gloucester City tomorrow.
The Ravens travel to Evesham in Worcestershire to play the Vanarama National League South outfit in The FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round.
After being thrashed 5-0 at Solihull Moors on 22 September, the Ravens have picked up their form. They bounced back with a satisfying 2-1 win at Ebbsfleet United, were held to a 2-2 home draw by FC Halifax Town and continued their winning run at Maidstone United with a 1-0 win before Barrow were beaten 2-1 at Hayes Lane last weekend.
Bromley, as expected, have risen up the Vanarama National League table and sit in fifteenth-place in the table with 20 points from 16 games.
“Really pleased, with the difficult games we’ve had,” said Smith on the eve of their FA Cup tie.
“We had difficult circumstances against Halifax losing players before kick-off and everything else. I still believed that was a game we should have won but then the attitude of the players has been first class. Every training session, they’re putting everything in and I’m now getting everyone fit. I’ve got a proper squad to pick from instead of just picking the fit ones.”
Bromley attracted their largest crowd of the season when 2,211 watched their win over Barrow on Non-League Day last weekend.
Smith said: “It was brilliant. They were a footballing side and like getting it down and pass. It was a game we didn’t have to go at them. We could sit back because they over-played sometimes but when the opportunities came along we scored.
“To get that win as well was fantastic. To have the two away wins before that away to Ebbsfleet and Maidstone, to have that home win on Non-League Day in front of (nearly) two and a half thousand supporters was amazing!”
Smith is delighted with the form of striker Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, 24, who has scored six goals for Bromley since coming in on loan from League Two side Colchester United.
“Junior’s had a fantastic season so far,” said Smith.
“He’s come in and wanted to prove himself. Another one people may not have known about, although in the lower leagues he was doing well. He’s come to us and he’s taken it on board and reproducing his best football so far.”
Gloucester City are in the bottom-five in the Vanarama National League South table, having collected four wins and two draws from their 12 games. They have scored only eight goals in the league but have only conceded 14.
Smith watched the Tigers’ 3-0 win at Bostik Premier Division side Dorking Wanderers in a replay in the last round, after the two sides played out a 3-3 thriller at Jubilee Stadium.
Tomorrow’s game will be played at Evesham. Bromley’s only previous visit there was to beat Evesham United 2-1 at the same stage of The FA Cup four years ago, courtesy of two goals from Danny Waldren.
“Well, we just hope we get the same result. It’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be a tough game,” said Smith.
“We went to watch them against Dorking, they had a 3-0 win which was very convincing and we had them watched against Billericay when they just come up short (losing 1-0) against a very, very strong side, so we’re under no illusions, it’s going to be tough but you know these games you try to get yourself mentally right, physically right to give yourselves the best opportunity.
“Having Chris Todd there now, I’d imagine he’ll throw in some of his ideas over the last week or so, so we have to make sure we prepare ourselves properly and don’t let ourselves down.”
Smith is keen to reach the First Round and ensure Bromley will be ball number 70 in Monday’s night's draw.
“The FA Cup means a hell of a lot, like every year. You see and you read about a non-league side doing really well in The FA Cup and we just hope one year it’s going to be us – and we hope it’s this year!
“We just hope one year it’s going to be us. We’ll give it our best chance but we’ll just take one game at a time and the next one is a tough one against Gloucester.”
Smith is expected to hand former Maidstone United striker Joe Quigley, 22, his debut tomorrow.
“He’s a Republic of Ireland Under 21 International and just been away with them for a week. He brings enthusiasm, he’s bringing a bit of competition for that position as well and he’s hungry and wants to do well for Bromley Football Club.
“He’s had a bit of a quiet spell and he wants to kick on again.”
Bromley are nine points clear of relegation but nine points adrift of the play-offs and Smith has guided his home-town club through sticky patch in the National League.
“We’re bang in the middle but we’re looking up rather than down. I knew a few people got a bit concerned,” said Smith.
“We haven’t by any means cracked it. We know we have to work hard but the one thing I can guarantee from the boys is we give it our all. We want to make sure we achieve what we can achieve in that league.”
Last season, Smith guided Bromley to their highest ever league position of ninth in the top-flight with their most number of points. Oh, and there was a heartbreaking game at Wembley Stadium in The FA Trophy Final.
The Hayes Lane faithful are crying out for some FA Cup glory. Last season they were thrashed 4-0 by League One side Rochdale.
“I’ve always said every season I want to improve and I’m no different this season,” said Smith.
“It’s going to be a difficult. There’s a lot of strong teams in there, teams spending a lot of money and we have to compete with that.
“Hopefully we’re sorting ourselves out as a squad and getting to know each other a bit more as well. We’ll give our everything right up to the last game of the season. I’d love to get into the top seven but it’s going to be very hard.”
Visit Bromley’s website: www.bromleyfc.tv
Gloucester City v Bromley
The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round
Saturday 20 October 2018
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Jubilee Stadium, Cheltenham Road, Evesham, Worcestershire WR11 2LZ