Sunday 17th April 2005

Please credit article to Stephen McCartney - www.kentishfootball.co.uk

Bromley have the desire to succeed

BROMLEY joint-manager George Wakeling wants a crowd off over 500 to cheer on his team towards fifth spot in the Ryman League First Division on Tuesday night, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Hayes Lane outfit climbed into sixth place - a play-off position - with a 2-0 victory at Fleet Town on Saturday and they can leap frog over Metropolitan Police if they maintain their unbeaten run.

Bromley have won their last six games - keeping five clean sheets in the process - and the experienced campaigner is relishing the chance of securing the club's place in the Ryman Premier League next season.

And Wakeling was full of praise for his players, coming away from Calthorpe Park with three points in the bag, thanks to an own goal scored by Steve Riley, heading into his own net, and striker Mark Tompkins, netting his fourth goal in only three games following his return from Whyteleafe, just before the transfer deadline.

"We went there sort of expecting a tough game because they are still in a relegation situation and Fleet worked really hard for a team working in the bottom third," reflected Wakeling.

"But we were very solid in defence, scored two and shut up shop.  It should have been five - we had opportunities to double that score."

Wakeling admitted he was pleased his side motivated themselves to win at a poor ground.  "It isn't the best place to go - it doesn't exactly set you alight.  With all the respect to Fleet their dressing rooms and facilities weren't up to scratch and they had a bumpy pitch.  It's difficult to come to teams with these conditions but we done it."

Experienced striker Tompkins, however, has been a hit, once more at Bromley - as Wakeling predicted.

Speaking about the well-travelled striker, he added: "Mark and I go a long way.  He's come in to do a job.   We obviously wanted someone to finish off what we were creating.  We have created a lot of chances and not been putting them away.  He has, I am really pleased for him."

If Bromley win their next two home games, against Metropolitan Police on Tuesday and against local rivals Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday they should join tenants Cray Wanderers in the play-off lottery, with a possible third meeting between the two sides.

First off though, Bromley come across Jim Cooper's Metropolitan Police.  The Blues should have three former Ravens in their side, Mark Watson, Glenn Boosey and Scott Bennetts were all dumped by Wakeling earlier in the season.

"With the greatest of respect, they might be doing a great job where they are but they weren't doing it for me," Wakeling pointed out.

"I feel I've got better players.  Otherwise I would have tried to keep them here."

However, Wakeling has confidence in his players for their push for promotion.

"They are both difficult games.  I know both their managers and they know when they play us they will have a hard game.  But they will worry more about us than we will them.  I have a lot of confidence in my players."

Wakeling has done very well since returning to Hayes Lane in December when he accepted the job following Stuart McIntyre's departure.

In 21 league games, Bromley have won 13 and they have collected 41 points from 63 available.

Goalkeeper Andy Walker, who joined the club from Wingate & Finchley in the close season, has kept 19 clean sheets in all competitions this term, keeping 11 of them under Wakeling.

"He's doing very well," Wakeling praised.  "If I would have been there at the start of the season, he'll probably have kept more clean sheets.  But he's earned them.

"With the greatest respect to Andy, I've only been at Bromley since December, but we rate him very highly."

Wakeling promises his side will be committed against Dulwich Hamlet at Hayes Lane on Saturday.  "We've got to be totally committed that afternoon.  I am looking back on the last six games and we are on a good run.  So I'll go into the game confident."

Wakeling is making sure his team remain in the play-off places with only three games of the league campaign remaining.

"I've got a lot of respect for the other teams but what I'm concerned about is getting into the finals.  That is the most important thing, but at this moment in time, we're not there yet."

When Bromley clashed with Metropolitan Police at the end of March, they started well and despite not scoring looked on course to beat the Imber Court outfit.  However, the game was abandoned at half-time due to a waterlogged Hayes Lane pitch.

Wakeling praised the club's fans and feels they can play a big part in their remaining games.

"I can't ask for more support, they have been tremendous," he said.  "You have to take your hat off to them.  Reminds me of the old days."

Wakeling painted a bright picture to Carshalton Athletic manager Billy Smith to re-join him at Hayes Lane after the experienced pair left Colston Avenue.

"I said to my mate Billy Smith if we go down there, the potential of the club is as good as you can find in the local area.

"You go into the ground now, Jerry Dolke (chairman) has got plans to develop the ground, the advertising boards are taking up the space.

"We want to try and push as high as we can.  Our aims is to build a side for next season but as we are getting close we have to push.

"The better the team we produce the more fans will go into the ground - like it was before."

Wakeling, however, admitted he has been helped with quality players being made available at the right time.

"I went to Bromley when they were 15th," he said. "You wait for the players but they have become available and we've got them.

"It's looking good for us.  Our bit of luck was when the players have become available at the right time."

When asked what has been his best signing since returning to the club, instead of naming a player, Wakeling mentioned the two members of his management team - all incredibly have managed the club in the past.

"The best signing I had coming back was Billy Smith, when he followed me a month after me.  He is part of the team.

"I know Frankie Coles has a big heart for the club and at the end of the day we are people that trust one another.

"We have a big desire to do well and when you've got that it can take you a long way."

Midfielder Danny Carroll, who is also in his second spell with Bromley after joining them from Carshalton Athletic in December, and has played at a higher level, should be added to the squad but they will be without former Hornchurch star Adam Locke (calf) and Allan McLeod (ankle).

Ryman League Division One (top 8)

1 AFC Wimbledon 40 27 10 3 85 32 91
2 Walton & Hersham 40 26 4 10 66 33 82
3 Horsham 40 23 5 12 84 60 74
4 Cray Wanderers 40 19 16 5 94 49 73
5 Met Police 39 21 6 12 67 49 69
6 Bromley 39 20 8 11 65 43 68
7 Leatherhead 40 18 13 9 69 55 67
8 Tooting & Mitcham 40 17 14 9 90 60 65

Bromley v Metropolitan Police
Ryman League Division One
Tuesday 19th April 2005
Kick Off 7:45pm
at The Clive Christian Stadium, Hayes Lane, Bromley