The FA Vase is a fantastic opportunity for teams in our league to flex their muscles. With recent successes of our teams in this competition, I think someone from our league is due to win it, says Sheppey United coach Marcel Nimani
SHEPPEY UNITED head coach Marcel Nimani says it’s time for a Kent side to celebrate winning The FA Vase.
Ernie Batten’s side travel to Hextable tomorrow to tackle Sutton Athletic in the First Round, a side they scrapped to a 1-0 win in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on the first day of September.
Sheppey United go into the game sitting in fourth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 25 points from nine games, two points behind leaders Chatham Town but with a game in hand.
Dan Kelly’s side, meanwhile, are in 12th place in the First Division pecking order with seven points on the board from as many games.
“The FA Vase is a fantastic opportunity for teams in our league to flex their muscles. With recent successes of our teams in this competition, I think someone from our league is due to win it and it wouldn’t surprise me if it is as soon as this season,” said Nimani.
“We have been drawn with Sutton Athletic and whilst I can see a lot of non-league pundits are putting us as favourites, Ernie and I have a different view.
“We played Sutton Athletic in the first game of the season as we drew them in The FA Cup. We both watched them in their last pre-season friendly at Bearsted and we identified a strong footballing side. They have a great midfield trio in the middle who kept the ball comfortably.
“Even though we prepared accordingly, they came to us on that Tuesday night and in many parts of the game, they outplayed us and we were very unlucky.
“I have been keeping an eye on Sutton since we drew them in The FA Cup and they have picked up some great recent results and playing some great football at Rochester United and Snodland Town.
“We, of course, have gone on to improve our game since our last meeting but make no mistake, Sutton Athletic are a young and technical side.
“They have also gone on to re-sign Connor Evans from Margate. We faced Evans in our friendly against Margate during pre-season and I thought he was outstanding that game, a very good player and goalscorer.
“We went on to have a good run in The FA Cyp and it really had a positive effect on our team cohesion and the boys were devastated when we fell short on that Tuesday night at Eastbourne Borough.
“We take the Vase competition with the same spirit as we did The FA Cup and we will be doing our very best to progress through the rounds.
“We prepare as we would do any league games, scout the opponents, train accordingly and compete with the same intensity.
“We’ve had a good start in this competition already, having progressed through Croydon and Molesey and have every desire to continue the journey.
“We have a great squad and some players will be getting their opportunity to showcase their talent.
“Cup competitions are also great for our fans, they really get into the spirit of cup competitions and follow us around in great numbers.
“I remember last years’ journey in the Kent Senior Trophy, which we reached the final and I was gutted for our fans not to have the opportunity to support their team in the final. I feel that these cup journeys are great entertainment for our fans.”
Sheppey United reached the Third Qualifying Round of The FA Cup, taking the lead at National League South side Eastbourne Borough through Billy Bennett's fine finish, before losing 3-1.
Visit Sheppey United’s website: www.sheppeyunitedfc.co.uk
Sutton Athletic v Sheppey United
The Buildbase FA Vase First Round
Saturday 31 October 2020
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Lower Road, Hextable, Kent BR8 7RZ