Thursday 24th November 2005

There's nothing to fear, insists injury hit Lovell

Sittingbourne manager Steve Lovell is anticipating a very tough game when they host Nationwide Conference South outfit Cambridge City in the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy at Bourne Park on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.

But the Welshman admits his injury hit squad will need to be at their best to progress into the first round.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Lovell said: "It's a very tough game, they are two leagues above us and doing well in their league.

"They will be expecting to come down and win the game so it's going to be very tough, but hopefully we can put up a good performance and cause a bit of an upset."

Lovell calls on his fringe players to impress as eight of his squad are unavailable.  Paul Ainsworth (foot), Lee Browning (shoulder), Steve Williams (back), Mark Lovell (knee), Jon Neal (hamstring), Dan Edwards (cartilage), Dan Tanner (ankle) and Michael Smissen (cup-tied) all miss out.

And Lovell asks the fans to get behind his team.  He said: "We've got a very good home record so I'm pleased.  We should have a decent crowd down there and if all our players perform the best we can. I think we can get a result.  But we need to be at our best."

Lovell admitted former Welling United striker Paul Booth will "be a danger" to his side but he is looking forward to meeting visiting manager Paul Roberts, the former St Albans City, Braintree Town and Baldock Town boss.

"I know their manager very well and he's had a good record in non-league football," said Lovell.  "He's been around a few years, like myself, so it will be quite interesting how the game unfolds."

The Brickies, however, were knocked out of the Kent Senior Cup by Nationwide Conference outfit Gravesend & Northfleet on Tuesday night.

Goals from Jamie Darville, Luke Moore (2) and Richard Hodgson booked Liam Daish's men into the last eight and joined Ramsgate, Folkestone Invicta and Bromley in the hat.

"They had a very strong side out," admitted Lovell.  "I played most of the boys that haven't played this year for me in the first side to give them a run out and it was a very good game of football.   Gravesend's little bit of class in front of goal told in the end."

Lovell, whose side lost 4-0, added: "Their Conference aren't they?  They're (at the) top of non-league football and their goalkeeper played very well making two good saves. 

"It was a good work out for us and the boys that played enjoyed themselves."

Lovell revealed he might be adding two or three new faces to his squad and said his team will rise up the Southern League Division One East table - once everybody's fit.

"Hopefully, If I get everybody fit I will play my strongest starting eleven," he said.  "I've got a few injuries at the moment so it's important to give the other boys a game."

Lovell has captured former Gillingham midfielder Danny Lawson from Nationwide Conference South outfit Welling United.  He has been playing at Herne Bay most of the season to regain his fitness.

"We're pushing towards getting everyone fit, looking to go into the new year with a very strong squad to push in the final half of the season," said Lovell.

"The team's we've played (suggests) there's nothing to fear really.  We've got to get a little bit more consistency in our play and the main thing is getting everyone fit.

"I think if we can get everyone fit, we'll have a very strong squad and one that will move rapidly up the league.

"At the moment I'm quite happy, but anybody that does become available I'm always interested in improving my team and within the next couple of weeks there might be two or three players coming in."

Sittingbourne v Cambridge City
FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round
Saturday 26th November 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Bourne Park, Central Park, Eurolink, Sittingbourne