I don’t think anyone knows Cray Valley better than me outside of Cray Valley, so I know it’s a big task ahead of us, says play-off chasing Herne Bay boss Ben Smith

Thursday 02nd January 2020

HERNE BAY manager Ben Smith says there’s no pressure on his side going into their game at Cray Valley on Saturday.

The Bay have climbed up to sixth-place in the Isthmian League South East Division table with 27 points from 16 games, three points adrift of the play-off zone but with a game in hand.

Herne Bay beat their bitter-rivals Whitstable Town 3-0 yesterday, in front of 831 fans at Winch’s Field.

Kevin Watson’s side are in third-place in the table with 32 points from their 17 league outings and while Smith was Canterbury City’s manager, the Millers won a two-legged FA Vase Semi-Final to deny Smith a chance to walk out his side at Wembley Stadium last May.

“I don’t think anyone knows Cray Valley better than me outside of Cray Valley, so I know it’s a big task ahead of us,” said Smith.

“It’s hard because I think they’re a nice club, good people that run it and I’ve said it so many times, yes, they cost me a day out at Wembley and an early retirement but they’re really good people.

“Kevin Watson is a really good manager. People say about the money and all that sort of stuff.  Forget about the money, he’s a good manager and he’s done very well there and he’s very humble with it as well so I can only have nothing but respect for that club.

“I was gutted that they didn’t go and win The FA Vase. I felt they would win The Vase and they should’ve gone and won it.

“We’ll go there as underdogs because they’re very good and it’s no surprise where they are.  There’s no pressure on us at the moment, we’re exceeding expectations.”

Cray Valley came away from Sevenoaks Town with a 1-1 draw yesterday and they haven’t won their last two league games.

Smith is keen to lead the club into the Isthmian League South East Division play-offs for the first time.

“It would be madness, the club previously when I was here was scared of the word promotion/play-offs,” added Smith.

“It was like “it would be good to get to the play-offs and lose the final because we wouldn’t have to go up but we’d get all of the money,” and that was the kind of attitude.

“It may be a season too early, but we’ll see.”

Visit Herne Bay’s website:  www.hernebayfootballclub.co.uk

Cray Valley (Paper Mills)  v  Herne Bay
Isthmian League South East Division
Saturday 4 January 2020
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Middle Park Avenue, Eltham, London SE9 5HT