Whatever the result against Hastings on Sunday the league is far from over as we are not even a third of the way through and a win either way only really brings bragging rights, says Cray Wanderers' assistant Joe Vines
CRAY WANDERERS assistant manager Joe Vines says he is feeling excited ahead of their biggest league game of the season on Sunday.
The Wands welcome Hastings United to Hayes Lane on a weekend of top footballing action at the iconic 80-year stadium, with landlords Bromley hosting League One highflyers Peterborough United in front of an all-ticket crowd of over 3,000 in The FA Cup First Round, before Tony Russell’s unbeaten Wands host the Arrows in a top-of-the-table Bostik South East Division showdown.
Cray Wanderers are unbeaten in 11 league games, winning 10 of them, while Chris Agutter’s side are in second-place (before Saturday’s games), seven points behind but with a couple of games in hand.
“Really exciting game against Hastings to look forward to on Sunday,” said Vines.
“Hastings are a young side that have invested a great deal of time and effort in building a new team to compete at the top end of the league and they haven't disappointed.
“It's difficult to compare us with them as the only side we have both played is Hythe so we are not really sure what to expect from them just yet.
“Whatever the result on Sunday the league is far from over as we are not even a third of the way through and a win either way only really brings bragging rights.
“We expect pace, youth and exuberance from them and we expect professionalism, discipline and patience from ourselves.”
Cray Wanderers had to rely on Ben Mundele’s last-minute goal to see off Haywards Heath Town in Sussex last weekend.
“The last game against Haywards Heath was a tough one as they were physically imposing and they defended well but we really let ourselves down in front of goal,” admitted Vines.
“We had 18 shots with only four on target and for a side of our quality we realise that collectively that wasn't good enough.
“We've done some good work this week on and off the training pitch to make sure that we are ready to get back on track.
“Take nothing away from Haywards Heath as they worked really hard but we should have scored three in the first half to put the game to bed.
“Ben Mundele popped up with his third goal in as many games and he had another strong performance. The back four have been great in the last few games on the whole so we will need to carry that form in the next couple of games as they are massive.
“Our league position is irrelevant at the moment to be honest as we are genuinely just so focused on performances.
“We haven't been as clinical in the last third as we need to be to prove our dominance of possession. We've seen that in the last four or five games. I think if we are to dig into the reserves we have put a lot of pressure on some inexperienced players and that hasn’t been altogether fair.
“If we can make the marginal improvement required to get better then we will be close in May.
“Losing Shaggy (Michael Power), Rhuley (Aaron Rhule) and Denty (Karl Dent) has meant that we are putting greater expectations on others when maybe they are not quite mature enough at this stage in their development to perform with the regularity that a title chasing team needs.
“Whatever the result on Sunday, the side we put out will be one we feel is strong enough to win the game so there will be no excuses from us.”
Cray Wanderers part-time youth team host League One club Portsmouth in The FA Youth Cup Second Round at Hayes Lane on Wednesday 21 November and if Mark Dacey’s side pull off a giant-killing act then they face the dream prospect of playing at Premier League giants Liverpool at Anfield in the Third Round.
“This is a club that I am personally so proud to be a part of,” said Vines on the club’s record breaking run in the competition.
“The under 23s and 18s are really making great strides forward with a really capable management team in place with Mark Dacey and Adam Flemming.
“The strength of those teams can only mean that the club becomes a force for many years to come. The doorway into the first team from those teams is open and the relationship between the youth section into the 18s then 23s then senior side has never been better.
“If we can get final sign off on the stadium development on 19th/20th November then this club will really go places and with some good fortune and continued hard work I would love to make history as part of Tony's staff for years to come.”
Visit Cray Wanderers website: www.cray-wanderers.com
Cray Wanderers v Hastings United
Bostik South East Division
Sunday 11 November 2018
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF