My players beleive in themselves now, says Sutton Athletic boss James Collins
The Hextable-based club travel to Star Meadow in the Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League Challenge Trophy Quarter-Final Second Leg, one goal down after Stuart West won it for Blair at Lower Road back on 11 January.
“The first leg was a really tight game that could have gone either way,” said Collins.
“I felt we had more of the possession and took the game to them without really forcing their keeper into to many saves while Hollands & Blair were compact and well organised and looked dangerous on the break.
“We felt we had a late shout for a penalty but it wasn’t to be and maybe a draw would have been a fair result.
“We have a game plan for the second leg. I said that the tie wouldn’t be won in the first leg but we certainly didn’t want to lose it so we changed the way we initially play.
“The biggest plus from my point of view was the reaction of the players. They usually felt that we gave them too much respect.”
Paul Piggott’s Hollands & Blair were knocked out of the Kent Senior Trophy Sponsored by Spire Alexandra Hospital last weekend after Gary Clarke’s close range finish in the 12th minute sent Ashford United through to the final.
Paul Chambers’ side will face the winner of Fleet Leisure and Beckenham Town, which fell victim to a waterlogged pitch at Rede Court Road and the two will try again on Saturday, 15 March.
“When I first came to the club we had Hollands & Blair as our first game of the season and the mood round the club was one of deflation and we had to convince the players that they were good enough to go there and win,” said former Erith Town manager Collins.
“Now they understand why we approached the first leg why we did and their reaction tells me that I don’t need to convince them anymore. They believe in themselves now.
“So it’s up to the players come Saturday, being 1-0 down and being underdogs means we can go there with no pressure.
“We know what we have to do and we can’t wait.
“We are now left in two cup competitions and that is our best chance of silverware this season as I think the league is Hollands & Blair’s to lose.
“I have enormous respect for Paul and the job has done there. The club should obviously not be in this division and I genuinely hope they go up as the club deserves to go to the next level with the sustained success they have maintained in previous years.”
Visit Sutton Athletic’s website: www.clubwebsite.co.uk/suttonathletic
Hollands & Blair v Sutton Athletic
Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League Challenge Trophy Quarter-Final Second Leg
Saturday 8th March 2014
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Star Meadow Sports Ground, Darland Avenue, Gillingham, Kent ME7 3AN