All we're going to do is give it our best shot, says Croydon boss Dickson Gill
The Trams welcome unbeaten Ryman League Division One South leaders Burgess Hill Town to the Croydon Sports Arena in the First Qualifying Round.
Croydon are in eleventh-place in the Southern Counties East Football League table with seven points from five games and they were knocked out of The FA Vase at the first hurdle after losing 1-0 at league rivals Phoenix Sports in a replay last night.
The two sides were locked at 3-3 after extra time on Saturday, before Phoenix Sports took advantage of being at home last night and won it courtesy of Alex Nelson’s 41st minute volley.
Attention now turns to the visit of Ian Chapman’s Hillians, the first time the Trams have played in the First Qualifying Round since they went down to a 1-0 replay home defeat to Worthing in 2007.
“You know what it’s like, The FA Cup, anything can happen, but we are playing a team in the Ryman and they’re top and unbeaten so everything on the books is in their favour,” said Gill.
“But I remember Sutton beating Coventry years ago so it can happen. I’m not dreaming but it can happen.
“All we’re going to do is give it our best shot and make it as difficult as possible we can for them like we did last night.”
This will be Croydon’s fourth game in The FA Cup this season.
They came away from Arundel with a 1-0 win in the Extra Preliminary Round and needed two games to get past Epsom & Ewell.
The Trams have banked £3,425 in prize money from The Football Association and there’s another £3,000 up for grabs this weekend.
Dill revealed after their 4-1 replay win over Epsom & Ewell that the prize money will help pay the £5,000 in rent to Croydon council to play at the ground or will help him purchase a set of tracksuits for the team.
Only Croydon and Greenwich Borough are flying the flag for the Southern Counties East Football League this weekend.
“I can’t complain because we’ve got a lot more than the other clubs in the Kent League have got because they all went out first hurdle, so we’ve picked up nearly £4,000 so I can’t complain if we go out,” said Gill.
“It will be nice if we do cause a shock, but we’re going to give it a good try and have a right go at it.
“It’s not a pleasant place to come, the Ryman League clubs, they don’t like it.”
Phoenix Sports’ chairman Andrew Mortlock wrote in his programme nights last night, “Not being rude to our visitors but the pitch at Croydon is a real dog and you could see that both teams found it tough to play any decent football on it.”
Gill responded by saying, “That’s their opinion. We can come here and disgrace a lot of things here but I won’t be drawn into that. That’s just their mentality. If they knew what goes on they might have a different view.
“Everyone could come here and say what they want but I’m not going to get drawn into that.”
Gill admitted it will take him a couple of days to recover from their FA Vase exit but insists his side will be ready on Saturday.
“It takes a day or so to get over it and then we’ll take Saturday, brush ourselves down and go again.
“Our main aim is defend properly and hopefully we can frustrate them and break out and score. That will be our plan but we’ll just wait and see how strong we are.”
Burgess Hill Town have won six and drawn three of their nine league games and are two points clear of surprise-package Corinthian-Casuals at the top of the Ryman League Division One South table.
Visit Croydon’s website: www.croydonfc.com
Croydon v Burgess Hill Town
The FA Cup First Qualifying Round
Saturday 13th September 2014
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Croydon Sports Arena, Albert Road, South Norwood, London SE25 4QL