Monday 10th October 2005

Playing Aldershot is my priority, insists Wakeling

Five of our Kent sides have made it through to the last 64 non-league club's of the FA Cup - and we would love Bromley to join them, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Ravens will be starting their long journey to Mangotsfield United at 2:30 on Tuesday afternoon with victory in their minds as they will host Nationwide Conference strugglers Aldershot Town at the Courage Stadium in Hayes Lane on 22 October.

In the other fourth qualifying round ties, Nationwide Conference side Gravesend & Northfleet, who start their FA Cup campaign at this stage,  travel to either St Albans City or Kettering Town.

Adrian Pennock's Welling United travel to Yeading or Dorchester Town.  Yeading ended the Wing's unbeaten start to their Nationwide Conference South campaign at the end of August, and who can forget the West Londoners' epic FA Cup run last season when they were knocked out in the third round proper by Premiership giants Newcastle United in front of the BBC Television cameras at Loftus Road last January.

Cray Wanderers' have never played at this stage of the competition and will relish their trip to Nationwide Conference leaders Grays Athletic, and Neil Cugley's Folkestone Invicta travel to either Wroxham or Aylesbury United, looking to reach the first round proper for the first time in their history.

And Jim Ward's Ramsgate will be feeling confident they too can progress when Cirencester Town visit Southwood Stadium.

But all eyes are on George Wakeling's men to see if they can make it through on Tuesday night.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Wakeling, who guided Bromley into the first round proper in 1996, when (Ryman) League rivals Enfield won 3-1 at Hayes Lane in front of 2,709, admitted his side should have won on Saturday, but had to settle for a 0-0 draw.

"It was a game where we had a hell of a lot of opportunities with the possession we had but we couldn't finish them off," he said.

"I am fairly confident (of winning), but disappointed we have to travel up there (for the replay).

"We had this possession and should have made better use of the ball - but we have to do better than that to get into the next round.  It's a big incentive to get into the fourth (qualifying) round."

Leading scorer Nic McDonnell (hamstring), talented defender Tutu Henriques (ankle) and winger Gary Drewett (ankle) are big losses for Bromley.

And if Bromley do come through, Aldershot Town, rooted at the foot of the Nationwide Conference table with only 11 points from 12 games, will surely help to add to the club's coffers, especially with £10,000 at stake for the winners.

"I would love to get through," admitted Wakeling.  "It's a great showpiece for us.

"We can show people how the club's developing on and off the park.

"We've had so many injuries since the start of the season, it's disappointing.  We just have to move on and make sure we keep going on the right sort of vein.  We are doing quite well."

Bromley are currently ninth in the Ryman Premier League table, and Wakeling assessed their campaign to date.

"We've could have done better," he said.  "The injuries have played the biggest part.  I think if we were injury free we would have got more points."

But Wakeling is expecting a different Mangotsfield United team to turn up, playing in front of their own fans.  "Without a doubt.  They will have 5-700 people cheering them on and they will have a little bit more about them," he anticipated.

"I am looking at their players and our players and I think we are better than them.

"To be honest, I am very keen to win to play Aldershot.  I am under no pressure what so ever and I know too much about the highs and lows to put me under real pressure."

Wakeling takes his side to his former club, Ashford Town in the first qualifying round of the FA Trophy on Saturday, but admitted that game is lower down on the list of priorities.

"I am not looking that far ahead," he said.  "I'm more of a one game at a time bloke to be honest.

"We've got certain priorities and the FA Cup is priority, followed by the league, then the Trophy and then the county cup's and that's how I view it really."

Directions to Mangotsfield United FC:

By car: Exit the M32 at Junction 1 and follow the A4174 Ring Road, through the traffic light controlled cross roads. At the first roundabout turn left and continue on the A4174 Ring Road to a second roundabout. At the second roundabout continue on the A4174 Ring Road until you reach the third roundabout. At this roundabout turn right onto the Westerleigh Road, past the Beefeater pub and Esso garage on your left go across the mini roundabout to a set of traffic lights. At these lights turn left into Blackhorse Road, continue along this road and across another mini roundabout into Richmond Road. At the T junction with St. James Street (Red Lion pub opposite) turn left, after approximately 100 metres take the second turning on the left (immediately past the church) this is Cossham Street, the ground is approximately 300 metres on the right immediately after the mini roundabout.

By train: The nearest stations are Bristol Parkway (5 miles) and Bristol Temple Meads (7 miles). The journey time to London is approximately two hours and the last direct trains from the two stations are at 10:06pm and 10:40pm respectively.

Mangotsfield United v Bromley
FA Cup Third Qualifying Round Replay
Tuesday 11th October 2005
Kick Off 7:45pm
Cossham Street, Mangotsfield, Bristol BS16 9EN
Tel: 0117 9560119