To have The FA Cup as your first game is very difficult, says Holmesdale boss Ian Varley

Sunday 16th July 2017

HOLMESDALE manager Ian Varley has says The Football Association should amend their calendar after being given a FA Cup tie on the opening day of the season again.

The Bromley based side must open their campaign with a trip to Loxwood in the Extra Preliminary Round.

With a vital £1,500 up for grabs for the winner, Varley insists Southern Counties East Football League clubs should play a couple of league games before going into their FA Cup tie.

“I don’t understand the FA Cup being the first game of the season,” said Varley.

“It’s a nightmare because you could be out of The FA Cup.  It’s a weird one, no matter how many pre-season games you play, there’s not enough of an edge and something on it.  To have The FA Cup as your first game is very difficult.

“I’d rather have a couple of league games and then the FA Cup on the second Saturday, that’s just my personal preference.

“It’s tough to go in such an intense game and a lot of club’s not bank on The FA Cup but it helps with money and if that’s their first game they have to be ready and pre-season doesn’t get you that ready.  You need to be playing proper league games before that, but it’s not up to me. We’ll go there with a good squad and hopefully get through to the next round.”

With returning chairman Ray Tolfrey back at the helm, Varley has been tasked of winning promotion from the First Division within the next couple of seasons – despite having a zero budget.

“The aspirations are to get out of this league as soon as possible, that’s what I’ve been told, so as soon as possible is as soon as possible, whether it’s this year or next year,” revealed Varley.

“We finished the season well last year, we’ve lost a core of our team from last year but the aspirations are to get out of this league.

“What we did in the second half of the season gives us a bit more hope, even though we’ve lost a few of those players.  I sort of understand the level a little bit more and hopefully we will be up there.

“There’s money at our level, the level above, there’s money everywhere so it gets tougher each year.  We’ll do our best and hopefully we can finish higher than sixth.”

Varley’s side host Vanarama National League side Maidstone United at Oakley Road on Wednesday night (19:30) and the Dalers boss has a good relationship with Jay Saunders, who sends his Academy prospects to the club to gain experience.

“They’ll bring more of a youth team but that’s good for us because we had a lot of the Maidstone boys last season, six or seven, so if it’s a case of playing them to get a couple of boys to help with our squad, then that’s great,” said Varley.

“We might get a few extra fans through the gate. We need tests in pre-season and getting a few of the bigger teams down to Holmesdale to get more exposure for the club.

“We don’t get many fans, 30 on average per game. If Maidstone come and we get 50 then that’s great. It’s something different and it’s nice for National clubs to come to Oakley Road, even if it’s their youth teams because that will be good in itself.”

Holmesdale have won their opening two pre-season games away to Old Bromleians (4-3) and Bearsted (2-1).