The FA Vase is a massive competition to Punjab United, says coach Jindi Banwait

Friday 20th October 2023

PUNJAB UNITED coach Jindi Banwait says he is expecting a battle in wet conditions during their FA Vase First Round tie against their Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division rivals Lydd Town tomorrow.

Chipie Sian’s men go into the game against Tom Wynter's and James Rogers’ men sitting in sixth-place in the table with 18 points from their 12 games, while newly-promoted Lydd sit in the bottom five with 10 points from seven.

“We are looking forward to this tie against Lydd Town, both clubs are in good form and I’m certain this will be an entertaining fixture,” said Banwait.

“The autumn weather is now here and a mid-afternoon clash will bring the best out of both sets of players, physically and mentally.

“The FA Vase is a massive competition to Punjab United.  We had good runs in this cup and it brings something different to our fans and community. It’s nice to be in a national competition and while it’s regionalised, we are in a good place competitively on and off the pitch.

“We know Lydd have ariel threats and are not shy to get stuck in.  Being a coastal club these conditions are nothing new for them.  The players they have are up for the challenge.

“They have direct approaches and if that brings the rewards and results no one can dispute that.

“We are aware, like ourselves, Step Four players are now at their disposal.  There has been a shift in player attitude, which makes Step Five so much more difficult.  I expect Lydd to throw everything at us tomorrow, but we will relish the battle and aim to progress.”

Reflecting on their league form, Banwait said: “We have had back-to-back league draws, most recently against Holmesdale.  We ought to have won and the lads knew that.

“Holmesdale, like a lot of clubs in the division, have something to play for with the play-off places this season. I’m sure a point midweek is decent for them.

“We just need to be more consistent in some areas of the pitch but there are no concerns, it’s still very early.

“I’m really pleased where we are in sixth-place and five points off fifth, which is manageable at this stage.

“We have shown against Faversham, Deal, Fisher and Tunbridge Wells, who are all in the mix this season, our squad is capable to be amongst it.

“I’m certain there are mangers and coaches knowing, playing us this season is going to be very, very difficult, even if we are away from home. 

“We have had good performances and the Kent Senior Cup shows how we can perform, a cracking 3-0 win over Cray Valley gives us confidence.

“Aspirations are a play-off place and a good Cup run, any fixture that brings us something to go for, is pleasing.”

Banwait confirmed that Jayden Hussain, Tunde Aderonmu, Sam Bailey and Yousouff Bamba have all been ruled out of tomorrow’s tie through injury.

“We’ve recruited Rajan Sahni, a local Sikh player, who thrived at Kennington last season. It didn’t quite happen for him at (Isthmian League South East Division side) Phoenix Sports at the start of this season, but we are happy to have him on board.  Hopefully he will find his feet with Punjab United.

“Three of our under 19 Academy/Under 23s have also stepped up really well. Hudson Scudder, Wayne and Owen Bushell are all deserved of a squad place.

“It will be a late call (on whom plays tomorrow).  Players have returned from suspension too so I’m certain there will be a few disappointed players.  The one’s who start for matchday will know how fierce the competition is, but it’s a healthy and good vibe in the dressing room, rotation has been key to ensure playing time where possible.”

Striker Paul Vines has recently passed an impressive 650 career goals and Banwait is really pleased with progress the Gravesend based club is making under Sian’s management team.

“As a club following the Kent Senior Trophy Final win over Deal Town last season, we have had a huge lift.  The gate is good, we’re averaging 80-100 plus in attendances now.  Our youth teams are gaining success and sometimes it’s positive to witness the growth.

“Hopefully we can win this tomorrow but it will be a tight game, maybe even penalties.”

Punjab United  v  Lydd Town
The Isuzu FA Vase First Round
Saturday 21 October 2023
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Elite Venue, Dunkirk Close, Gravesend, Kent DA12 5ND