Friday 11th March 2005

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Chatham turn their attention to Israel

AFTER MISSING four defenders during last week's 2-1 defeat at Leighton Town, Chatham Town manager Steve Binks welcomes back at least two for tomorrow's first meeting of the season with Wingate & Finchley at Maidstone Road, writes Stephen McCartney.

Andy Boyle and Andy Larkin are back to face the North Londoners for sure but Dan Larkin is rated 50/50, whilst Tom Binks, the manager's nephew, will travel to Whitstable Town with the reserves.

Playing against a side only four points better off in the Southern League Division One East table - Chatham are the highest placed Kent side sitting comfortably in 13th place  - Binks said: "Its the first time we've played them this season.  They are four points ahead of us in the table so hopefully we can get a win under our belts. "  He went on: "We are desperate for bigger gates."

Former Tonbridge Angels pair Brendon Cass - who netted a hat-trick on his debut in their 4-0 drumming of Erith & Belvedere two weeks ago - and Steve Searle are expected to play.

Binks, however, has explained the reasons for his recent team formations, which involved Boyle moving into the midfield from his usual berth in defence.

The 54-year-old manager, whose served the Medway club for ten years, said: "Before joining Chatham Andy Boyle used to play in midfield and of course has turned in some great performances in defence.  He was very unfortunate to find himself out of the starting line-up in the game before last, after picking up an injury.

"I didn't want to change the defence, which looked really solid in the previous game, so I saw this as an opportunity to have a look at him in midfield.

"Also many supporters didn't see the fantastic game he had in midfield against Cray, where he was man-of-the-match, covering every blade of grass.

"It didn't work out as I intended against Waltham Forest and we looked better in the second half when Andy returned to defence.  He also picked up a bad injury in the first half and nearly didn't appear for the second, but seemed to run it off."

With teenage sensation, seventeen-year-old striker Frannie Collin likely to be unavailable for long spells due to his England Schoolboys involvement, Binks has hinted winger Israel Amadi will be given a longer run in the side - once he returns to full fitness.

Binks admitted: "I'm a great fan of Israel Amadi, whose pace can terrify opposing defenders.  With Frannie Collin likely to be unavailable for long spells now due to England Schoolboy commitments, there's a great opportunity to give Israel a decent run in the side.

"He also admits he is not 100%, with a second run out in the reserves, he is working hard in training.  I'm sure you'll be seeing more of him in coming games.  His best is still to come."

Binks, however, is concerned with the form and fitness of former Gravesend & Northfleet, Bromley and Erith & Belvedere player Glenn Billinness.

He added: "Glen has had a couple of excellent games away from home but has not reached that same level in the two most recent home games.

"He too is suffering from a knee injury, which does need resting.  Others have come in midfield recently and done well."

Chatham Town v Wingate & Finchley
Southern League Division One East
Saturday 12th March 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Maidstone Road, Chatham