There's no point in dwelling on the Liverpool game until the Portsmouth game is over - Portsmouth want this game as much as we do, says Cray Wanderers' youth team boss Mark Dacey

Tuesday 20th November 2018

CRAY WANDERERS’ youth team manager Mark Dacey says his side are anticipating an incredible night when they lock horns with League One club Portsmouth in The FA Youth Cup Second Round on Wednesday night.


The Wands have defeated Holmesdale (4-2 after extra time); VCD Athletic (6-0), Folkestone Invicta (4-1), Raynes Park Vale (3-0) and Worthing (2-1) and can now look forward to hosting Pompey at Hayes Lane.

“It's going to be an exciting night,” said Dacey.

“The club are expecting a decent turn out. All the boys’ friends and family will be in attendance and hopefully more from all levels of the club will be along to support the boys.

“It's a great night to welcome a club like Portsmouth down to Hayes Lane.

“We are expecting the same as we do from every opposition we play in any competition.  They will come at us. The reward for this tie is too much to lose and just sit back.”

The reward for the winners of Wednesday’s showdown is a Third Round trip to Premier League giants Liverpool in December.

Sadly, the game will not be played at Anfield but St Helens’ Rugby Stadium.

“For pretty much all the boys on the field in both teams to play against one of the biggest clubs in the world doesn't come round very often,” said Dacey.
“We know what threat they (Portsmouth) bring, we know a few individuals that can cause major damage.  We also know weakness we feel that we can exploit.

“I think it will come down to who holds their nerve the most.  Ability wise from what we have seen they arent any better than we are.

“For us as a team, Liverpool is the dream draw.  I know people say that's the dream but we said before the Holmesdale game back in late August what would be the dream draw. Liverpool away was the one.

“There’s no point in dwelling on the Liverpool game until the Portsmouth game is over. Reality isn't there yet. Portsmouth want this game just as much as we do.

“IF we got through its a small dig it won't be at Anfield but what can you do? These big boys won't open up a stadium like that for little old Cray Wanderers.

“To be honest the FA Youth Cup has just been an adrenaline rush. The games mean something, the goals have celebrations, fans come out to watch. In a lot of league games you score they high 5 and it's back we go to the half way line!

“In competitions like this you lose your mind. We celebrated every goal like it's the winner in the final.”

In the last round, Worthing dominated the first half and goalkeeper Tiwalade Fujimade had an outstanding game, before the Wands came back to win 2-1, courtesy of second half goals from Ronnie Payne and Lee Lewis.

Dacey said:  “Some of the games like Folkstone away and Worthing give you goosebumps thinking back. To be honest it's been fairly straight forward bar first half at Worthing. Not many of the sides gave us to many problems.

“The draw has been kind to us. Portsmouth will be something different but nothing I don't think we can't handle if we get our game plan right.”

Cray Wanderers chairman Gary Hillman will know once and for all whether his plans to build a new stadium at Flamingo Park in Sidcup will be given the green-light by London Mayor Sadiq Khan next Monday, 26 November.

Dacey said: “I hope he knows about the game to be honest. I hope he realises how as a club Cray Wanderers are flying. It's the Second Oldest Club in the World.  We need to go home so they can continue to build.

“It's not a fight the owners will ever give up on. All the hard work done behind the scenes this is the right time to sign the dotted line and allow the club to push forward.

“It's going be an incredible night Wednesday whatever happens. But we don't want to get caught up in the occasion. 

“We have lost one game since the start of February and to be honest that didn't even feature most of this squad in that defeat.

“We've won 11-12 games running twice in a row in that time frame so we have a great opportunity again if we are on it.

“We have a great chance on our own turf, I just hope whatever the result we do ourselves justice.”

Cray Wanderers' first team sit unbeaten at the top of the Bostik South East Division - the eighth tier of English football.

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Cray Wanderers  v  Portsmouth
The FA Youth Cup Second Round
Wednesday 21 November 2018
Kick Off 7:30pm
at Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF