Wednesday 10th August 2005

Young Deres have their Sporting (Bengal) chance


Erith & Belvedere assistant manager Wayne Baldacchino insists they are ready for their opening Kentish Observer League game of the season on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Deres' travel into East London to take on unpredictable side, Sporting Bengal United, looking to get their season off on a positive note before they embark on their FA Cup campaign seven days later.

After suffering relegation from the Southern League on the last day of last season, the Park View Road outfit start their FA Cup campaign in the Extra Preliminary Round, with a home tie against Hamble Association.

And Baldacchino told the club's website www.erithandbelvederefc.co.uk: "We are ready for our first league game on Saturday, big time.

"The lads are totally focused on the job in hand and will be trying their hardest to produce the goods.

"We have a team meeting after training tomorrow night where the whole squad will be told exactly what the deal is for the coming season.

"Things are running very well and nobody should be concerned at all about the pre-season results."

The Deres go into their league opener on the back of a defeat, where they lost to arch rivals Dartford 2-1 at Park View Road last night.

"A bit of a downer to lose our last pre-season match against Dartford, but I cannot complain too much as we are exactly where we wanted to be at this stage of the league build up," said "Chino".

"I felt we deserved at least a draw, having started and finished the second half strongly.

"Dartford controlled long periods of the second half but we did limit them to counter attacks only in the latter stages of the game."

It will be almost a new look line up that starts their Kentish Observer League campaign, from the one that dropped out of the Southern League at Wivenhoe Town in May.

"We have only four players left from last season.  We have brought in at least eight of last season's reserves, who are playing a higher level than they have ever played," said Baldacchino.

"We have taken on board a few trialists and former Deres to form a quality squad of around 22 players.

"We have had to completely re-build the team more or less from scratch and half the squad are under the age of 21.

"Pre-season has been more about getting the lads to gel together than winning matches. 

"Nobody can say that we are not playing good football that is enjoyable to watch can they?"

But the Deres are delighted they have locally based players turning out for them instead of players coming from all over London.

"We now have a group of players that play for the club and enjoy being here.  90% of the squad live within 15-20 minutes of the ground.  The future is good," Baldacchino revealed.

Sporting Bengal United v Erith & Belvedere
Kentish Observer League
Saturday 13th August 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at The Mile End Stadium