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Phil Collins looks to hit the right note for Cray Wanderers
CRAY WANDERERS play their first ever FA Trophy game on Sunday, against Southern League Division One East club Aveley at Hayes Lane and manager Ian Jenkins is looking forward to it, writes Stephen McCartney.
The long-serving boss has signed striker Phil Collins from Nationwide South basement boys Welling United - where he spent three years at Park View Road - and the former Margate hit-man will be looking to hit the right note at the lower level.
Jenkins commented: "He is a good player, a solid centre forward, so hopefully he will score plenty of goals for us."
He has already done that for the club, as he looks set to make his third debut for Cray Wanderers in the game, having netted an impressive 55 goals in 81 games for the club in the Kent League earlier in his career.
Cray have dropped to eleventh place in their debut campaign in the Ryman League first division, and Jenkins admitted his side should be better placed, had they turned six draws from ten games into victories.
"The six draws we've had we should have won three of them," he said.
"If we had, then maybe we could have been in the top three. Getting knocked out of the FA Cup was very disappointing."
After a comfortable 4-0 victory at home to Ryman Second Division side Epsom & Ewell, they were beaten 1-0 at Leatherhead in the first qualifying round.
Aveley, however, are below midtable, and make the trip over the Dartford bridge to Hayes Lane on Sunday (kick off 1.00pm) on the back of a 2-1 FA Cup defeat at Boreham Wood thanks to two late Sammy Winston strikes.
Jenkins admitted his team will be fully prepared for the clash after sending two senior players, Ian Rawlings and David Gray over to Meadow Park to watch them.
"We know what they are like and we will be up for it," promised Jenkins.
33-year-old Rawlings, who has started only one game this season, is once again missing as the experienced defender, who has served Leyton Orient, Leyton-Wingate, Bromley and Harlow Town, is out with an Achilles injury.
Jenkins added: "Hopefully we will get him fit again as soon as possible, as we are missing him."
Recent signing from Go Travel Kent League side Thamesmead Town, Michael Power (ankle) will not feature.
Looking forward to the remainder of the season, Jenkins added: "Hopefully we can crack into it and get into the top three. I am looking to strengthen the squad."
With £1,000 at stake for the winners of Sunday's tie, and a home Kent derby at home to Folkestone Invicta to look forward to if successful, Cray, who reached the last eight of the FA Vase last season, before going out to eventual finalists AFC Sudbury in extra time, have everything to play for and will be looking to hit the right note against the Essex side.
Cray Wanderers v Aveley
FA Trophy Preliminary Round
Sunday 10 October 2004
Kick Off 1:00pm
at Bromley FC, Hayes Lane, Bromley