Grays are a good side and Jamie Stuart is someone I looked up to as a kid as he grew up in the same area as me, says Cray Wanderers assistant Joe Vines

Friday 27th October 2017

CRAY WANDERERS assistant manager Joe Vines says their impressive run of form is breeding confidence within the camp.

The Wands extended their unbeaten run to nine games following their goal-less draw at fellow now second-placed surprise package Sittingbourne on Tuesday night.

“The Sittingbourne game was a really competitive, fiercely contested, exciting 0-0 draw,” said Vines.

“I think with the two teams coming in with strong defences and high on confidence, it was always going to be tight.

“Nick Davis is another ex-centre back so he has his boys well drilled.  I think that a draw was probably the right result, although I think hitting the crossbar twice gave us a feeling that we can always create chances.

“The return fixture at Hayes Lane (on 15 November) will be a slightly different game with the slick surface and hopefully the return of Karl Dent, who, I felt, we missed with his trickery and guile.”

Tony Russell’s side are in fifth-place in the Bostik South table with 27 points from 14 league games, have only lost once in the league and are six points adrift of leaders Lewes.

“Unbeaten runs mean very little at this stage apart from giving the boys confidence,” added Vines, a central defender by trade.

“I am much more interested in clean sheets as the longer we protect a clean sheet the stronger we look and the players take great pride in not conceding.

“Position wise we are not getting ahead of ourselves. We know we are a third of the way in and a lot can happen between now and then but we are collectively pleased with our progress and we are happy that we are playing the Cray way and getting results.

“I must say that ‘ve been pleasantly surprised by the set-up behind the scenes at Cray where the chairman and the directors are so supportive of the way we are trying to build and play without any thought of interference in the playing side.

“I would like to thank Gary (Hillman), Mike (Paye), Dave (Francis) and Mark (Simpson) for continuing to back Tony and his staff without pushing their views on the game upon us. It does happen in football.”

Attention now turns to The FA Trophy when Jamie Stuart brings his Grays Athletic side to Hayes Lane in the First Qualifying Round.

The Essex side were relegated from the Isthmian Premier last season and go into the tie sitting in 12th place in the Bostik North, with a playing record of five wins, two draws and eight defeats in the league.

“Grays are a good side and Jamie Stuart is someone I looked up to as a kid as he grew up in the same area as me,” said Vines, who grew up in Sidcup.

“Jamie is a consummate professional and I was lucky enough to play alongside him briefly at Margate so we know to expect hard work as a minimum and that they have quality in Jamie Slabber and the boys in and around him.  It should be a cracker!”

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Cray Wanderers  v  Grays Athletic
The Buildbase FA Trophy First
Qualifying Round
Saturday 28th October 2017
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF