I'm honoured to be sharing a touch line with someone like Jason Euell, who I watched in the Premier League - The man’s a legend, says Cray Wanderers boss Tony Russell

Monday 12th November 2018

CRAY WANDERERS manager Tony Russell has promised changes for Wednesday night’s Kent Senior Cup Second Round clash against Charlton Athletic.

The Wands moved 10 points clear of Hastings United after beating them 2-1 in a high-quality game at Hayes Lane yesterday, although Chris Agutter’s side have a couple of games in hand.

Russell received the manager-of-the-month award before the game but beat the curse by extending their unbeaten league run.

He said: “I’m not superstitious, I’m really not.  I think all those things are in your head. If you let it go in your head, I don’t believe in all of that. If you win manager-of-the-month it’s usually because you’re winning loads of games of football so why not win another one? That’s my mindset on that one.”

Russell’s men have won 11 and drawn one of their 12 games and lead the Bostik South East Division table, although Hastings can close the gap if they beat struggling Herne Bay at The Pilot Field on Tuesday night.

Charlton Athletic face a busy spell this week as they host Swansea City U21 in the Checkatrade Trophy at The Valley on Tuesday night, before they arrive at Hayes Lane 24 hours later.

“I love them as a club, they’re my boyhood club. I was born in Charlton and bread in Charlton and I’ve got a very good relationship with them with players etc,” said Russell.

“I get on really well with them. It’s a game probably both of us could do without but it’s great to play them, don’t get me wrong, sharing a touch line with someone like Jason Euell, who I watched in the Premier League, I’m honoured to do that. The man’s a legend.

“We’re quite fortunate that we’ve got a great under 23s and under 18s as you know – they’re one game away from playing Liverpool at Anfield – so it will be a great opportunity.

“We will mix it up. We’ll give a few a chance but generally we might put a few of the youngsters in.”

Russell explained why he is going to give some of his first-team players a rest.

“I’ve always done it, that’s why I’m so rubbish in the Cups, mate,” came his reply.

“Ok, envisage the scene. I put a full-strength side out, two of them get really bad injuries in a cup game.  Ultimately if I win that and then we finish bottom I will get the sack so the game means nothing!

“It’s a good cup.  One day when we get into that ground and we’ve got a full-time Academy and I’ve got a big squad – I’ve got 16 players and if any of them get injuries I’ve got to pick from our youth team, so I can’t really afford to.

“I will go a lot stronger than normal because we are playing no midweek games now. I’d say we’ll go 60% of the boys but people like Nick Blue won’t play, Jay Leader won’t play, Bradley Pritchard won’t play, Wilberforce Ocran won’t play because it’s his parent club.  Maybe Jerome Federico and Junior Dadson won’t play.

“It’s a chance for Karl Dent, who’s just come back fron injury to get 90 minutes. Archie Johnson who’s a brilliant player, he can play.

“We’ll use it for what it is. We’ll take the win if we can beat them but I won’t lose any sleep if we don’t.

“It’s more important about can I get a full strength squad going to Guernsey next week.”

Russell’s side fly over to Guernsey next Saturday – a side that are in sixteenth-place in the table with nine points from 12 games.

Russell revealed he has done his homework on their hosts.

“We’ve just spoken about Guernsey, how hard it’s going to be.  We screened the game in the bar after training the other day when we didn’t have a game. They’re a very, very good side. It’s such a hard place to go.”

Visit Cray Wanderers website:  www.cray-wanderers.com

Cray Wanderers  v  Charlton Athletic
Kent Senior Cup Second Round
Wednesday 14 November 2018
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF