We'll give it our best try to get out of this league but it's going to be difficult, says Cray Valley boss James Collins
CRAY VALLEY (Paper Mills) manager James Collins admits to not knowing much about their FA Cup opponents on Saturday.
The Millers travel to Addlestone to tackle Abbey Rangers in the Extra Preliminary Round and Collins admits he is going into the unknown.
It will be the second time Abbey Rangers will be playing in The FA Cup after losing 3-0 at Thame United at the same stage last season.
“I don’t know much about them,” admits Collins.
“Everyone says it’s a little unfair to have The FA Cup in your first game. It’s difficult because if you ask me if I’d rather win the League or the first round of The FA Cup, I’d rather win the League.
“It gives you a game to prepare for your first League game. I think it’s difficult, you don’t know nothing about this team, so you’re going straight into the unknown and you don’t know anything.
“You’ve got to back yourself and know your job properly in football, you worry about yourself and not what other people do.
“If they’re a better team than us and play better than us and they beat us, that will happen anytime during the season.
“If we do everything we’re good at, I think at Step Five, we’re as good as most teams at that level and if we play like we did in pre-season, we’ll be fine.”
The Millers finished their Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign in the top four last season and they stunned Welling United, AFC Wimbledon, Dulwich Hamlet and Metropolitan Police to win the London Senior Cup (Sponsored by Coventry Scaffolding) for the very first time.
“We’ve got to do better than what we did last year,” says Collins.
“We played Hastings in The FA Cup so that’s a game you wouldn’t expect to win.
“We’ve got to do better in The FA Vase, a Quarter-Final and two Finals so you’re looking at it and did better in the cup competitions but in the league I think we finished where we deserved to finish, we lost some sloppy games.
“Ashford were the only team to do the double over us. We beat Sevenoaks, we beat Sheppey twice, we beat Crowborough.
“I expect to win things and the boys expect to win things and if we can find some consistency, which we did towards the back end of last season.
“I don’t like making predictions because it bites you but I want to win it, the players want to win it. That’s it. Everyone in that changing room believes we could.”
When asked about the competition in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division this season, Collins replied: “I think Whitstable will be strong this year. Scott Porter was out of it for a little while and it took him a little while.
“Crowborough will be there or thereabouts. I think Whitstable sound like they will replace the Ashford of last year. I think Sevenoaks will be, Sheppey have signed some good players and I think Canterbury have signed some good players and Hollands & Blair have signed Rob Denness (from Greenwich Borough).
“It’s two up this year, depending on the points. I would imagine everyone will give it a good to this year.”
Cray Valley kick-off their Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign with a trip to Bearsted on Saturday 12 August.
“If you get a good run in this League and get a good start invariably you stay in and around it and I think the start is crucial,” said Collins,
“It’s getting out of this league is difficult and we’ll give it our best try and it’s going to be difficult.
“Bearsted will be a tough game in a sense that they don’t leave anything in the changing rooms, they’re organised. That was their first season so they’ll know the league a little bit better.
“I always like going down there, it’s a nice set-up, decent people.”
Cray Valley then host much-fancied Sevenoaks Town at Middle Park Avenue on Wednesday 16 August.
“I’m glad that we’ve got one of the big teams early doors because I don’t think there’s as much pressure on the game and it’s one of those ones, not that you can afford to lose, but you can go out and it’s not a must win game you play towards the end of the season.
“I’m glad that we’ve got one of the big teams early doors. We’ve got a nice little start, I’m happy with it.”
Visit Cray Valley’s website: www.cray-valley.co.uk
Abbey Rangers v Cray Valley (Paper Mills)
The Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Saturday 5th August 2017
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Addlestone Moor, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 2QH