Our target is to get out of the bottom three. Our next target is to beat Balham, says Thamesmead Town assistant Alex O'Brien

Friday 24th August 2018

THAMESMEAD TOWN assistant manager Alex O’Brien says his side must avoid a FA Cup upset away to Balham tomorrow.

The Mead are in the bottom three in the Bostik South East Division after losing their opening two games to Hastings United (5-1) and Faversham Town (2-1) and travel to the Wibbandune Stadium aiming to kick-start their campaign.

Balham play one level below Thamesmead Town and go into their first ever home FA Cup tie sitting top of the Combined Counties League Premier Division table with a 100% record from their opening four league outings.

They defeated East Preston 2-0 on the road on their debut FA Cup tie a couple of weeks ago and will be full of confidence to beat Tommy Warrilow’s men in the Preliminary Round.

“Good side, very young, we saw them last Saturday and they’re very quick, very dynamic, fit and organised, they look like a good unit,” said O’Brien, who watched their 3-2 win away to Walton & Hersham.

“We’ve got to go there and get on with it.  I saw the pitch that they play on is not great, some of our players might think coming from Dartford to go to Colliers Wood may be a kick in the teeth but do you know what, you just have to get on with it and hopefully our boys will pull up their sleeves and get on with it.”

Balham impressed when they thrashed Cray Valley 4-1 in the London Senior Cup (Sponsored by Coventry Scaffolding) Final on Hendon’s 3G pitch on 9 May and O’Brien is fully aware of their qualities.

“I don’t know if they came to (our home game against Faversham Town) to watch but they would (fancy their chances) and I don’t expect any different,” said O’Brien.

“We’ve all played in games when you’re the underdog and sometimes the underdog takes the day. We just have to hope that we’re organised and we know our jobs and we know what’s expected as a squad and we have to get on with it.

“That will be a game when we’re not concentrating on the league and concentrate on the Cup.  I don’t know, it might be a different mindset but hopefully we’ll go there and give a good account of ourselves.”

The winners of tomorrow’s game will bank £2,890 in prize money, while the losing club will bank £960.

“Unfortunately, we’re at a club where every penny does count and the chairman’s been brilliant but it’s just him doing it on his own so I hate talking about games that haven’t been played yet, as long as we go there and we’re organised and we’re set and we have a good work ethic, hopefully we’ll get the job done,” added O’Brien.

Thamesmead Town travel to Phoenix Sports on Bank Holiday Monday (13:00) and Paul Bryon’s men are second in the table after beating East Grinstead Town (3-1) and Three Bridges (5-2).

“Another one, it’s a great league to be in,” said O’Brien.

“Phoenix are another difficult side, they’ve been doing really well.  We know a lot of players and they know a lot of our players.  Paul’s done a great job down there.  It’s a toss of a coin, a derby day. It’s a boxing match, hopefully the best team on the day will take the bragging rights.”

When asked about Thamesmead Town’s targets this season, O’ Brien replied: “This is a league where we learnt last year the bottom club’s can beat the top club’s and the top club’s can struggle against club’s in midtable.  There’s always upsets. 

“I definitely think Cray Wanderers are set to win this league but it’s not easy for whoever to win this league.

“There’s going to be teams like East Grinstead, who have signed some great players, so I’m waiting for them to get going, so it’s a really good league to be involved in.

“Our target is to get out of the bottom three. The next target is to beat Balham.

“We set our own targets me and Tom and that’s between me, Tom and the players but the next target is to beat Balham and that’s the only target we’re looking at.

“I know it sounds a bit soapy but that’s where we are at the minute. We’ve had a bad day against Faversham so this week has to be a good week and we have to concentrate on the next game in hand.  There’s no point looking at Phoenix because we have to try to beat Balham before we play Phoenix, that’s how we work.”

Visit Thamesmead Town’s website:  www.ttfcofficial.org

Balham  v  Thamesmead Town
The Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round
Saturday 25 August 2018
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Wibbandune Stadium, Robin Hood Way, West Wimbledon, London SW20 0AA