We're a small village club with big expectations, says Sutton Athletic boss Ben Young
SUTTON ATHLETIC manager Ben Young says his side has an outside chance of winning promotion from the Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League at the end of the season.
The Hextable outfit started the week sitting proudly at the top of the table on a run of eight straight wins but were knocked off top spot after losing 2-0 at Glebe on Tuesday night.
With Sheppey United thrashing Kent Football United 6-0 the following evening, the Sutts have slipped down to third-place in the table on 49 points from 22 games, a couple of points behind Glebe and Sheppey United.
With Glebe in Challenge Trophy Quarter-Final action at Orpington tomorrow, Sheppey United can reclaim top spot with a win at Rusthall, while Sutton Athletic travel to fourth-from-bottom side Kent Football United.
“I’ve told the boys they’ve excelled their expectation so you’ve just got to believe next week if we win we go back on top and the pressure goes back to other teams,” said Young.
“All I ask my boys is to put points on the board, get our games out of the way and just see where we are at the end of the season.
“I know other teams have fixture pile-ups and cup games. It’s now back to us and we’ve got the opportunity to go top again.
“Kent Football are a good side, new management. It’s going to be a tough game for us, which we will look forward to.
“We had a good chat and everyone’s all focused for the next game so I say ‘don’t look in the past’ and the boys look forward to it.”
Well-backed pair Glebe and Sheppey United are exactly where they should be when it comes to league positions and budgets – but Young is keen to push them all the way when it comes to the top two promotion places.
The Kent Invicta League will be no longer next season as teams will join to make a second tier of the Southern Counties East Football League, while clubs without floodlights will be demoted into the Kent County League.
“Realistically we’ve got an outside chance,” Young said of his side’s title hopes.
“You’ve seen the quality that Glebe showed, we have to step our game up.
“The best thing that all my squad believe we’re capable of doing it and it makes me believe. Yes, we’ve got a chance. We’re up with the big boys and that impresses me.”
Young revealed some good news regarding the club getting their ground up to scratch to stay at their current level – or the league above.
“Yes, it’s all coming, the works. The hardstanding starts, it’s started so all the concrete should be filled in by this weekend,” he said.
“The lights have been ordered so they should be (installed) within five weeks.
“It’s a slow progress. We’re a small village club with big expectations that will take time. We’ve got a fantastic pitch down there, the groundsman does a fantastic job.
“We’ve got different works going on. We had a little problem with the funding but that’s now been downloaded.
“I look forward to our first night game, which we probably don’t need when the light comes in but we’re moving forwards and we want to be competing.
“I know you have to be up to date by the end of March and we will be. The league are happy.
“It’s a hard thing for a club with no money, going out to raise money to do things ourselves. It’s pleasing, the commitment from people behind the scenes is unbelievable.”
When asked how Sutton Athletic will claim a promotion place, Young said: “How do I get into it? What we’ve been doing and that’s hard work and desire and just doing the right things.
“For me to get into the top two we’ve got to concentrate every game and work hard.
“We are the Leicester (surprise Premier League leaders) of the league and we look at it like that with no budget and our club pays for everything, the training, the boys buy tracksuits for themselves and stuff like that.
“It is difficult. We are the underdogs and that spurs us on and it’s good to compete with the big boys because you’ve got players that want to play and do well. A lot of them can play in the Kent League so we want to match their expectations and maybe we can be the Leicester this year.”
Kent Football United v Sutton Athletic
Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League
Saturday 13th February 2016
Kick Off 2:00pm
at Glentworth Sports Club, Lowfield Street, Dartford, Kent DA1 1JB