I’ve seen Chatham Town play and they’ve got some very good players and it’s not me trying to water it down, we’re the league above and we’re probably going there as the underdogs, says Ashford United boss Tommy Warrilow

Thursday 19th August 2021

ASHFORD UNITED manager Tommy Warrilow says he is expecting a tough game at Chatham Town in The FA Cup Preliminary Round on Saturday.

The Nuts and Bolts kicked-off their Isthmian League South East Division campaign with a 3-1 home win over Burgess Hill Town last Saturday, with Tommy Fagg scoring all three of their goals.

“We started very well.  I said to the boys we have to be a bit more ruthless this year,” said Warrilow.

“We should have got in at half-time a couple of goals in front but we came out in the second half and Burgess Hill picked up a little bit but we persisted and we scored three good goals and the most important thing was to get the three points.

“For some reason, there’s no midweek games at the moment but we got off to a good win, it wasn’t just a win but a good win.”

Warrilow was delighted with the performance from his hat-trick hero.

“We’ve been working on Tommy Fagg’s positioning sense, not just him, but getting everyone in the right areas and I think Tom’s got the attributes to go a long way, hence why he’s on a contract.  We just need to try to rein him in a little bit when he gets frustrated not getting the ball.

“On Saturday he got in some great areas and joined in with the front two and also got on the end of a very good set-piece. It’s a good start from him and we just need to sustain it as a team.”

Chatham Town thrashed Eastbourne United 6-2 in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round and Warrilow takes his side to the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division big-hitters next.

Carl Laraman and Kevin Hake’s side have only played two league games, winning them both against Canterbury City (2-0) and Bearsted (2-1) and are in fifth-place in the table.

However, Chatham Town have a couple of games in hand on surprise package Erith & Belvedere, who sit proudly at the top with maximum points from four games.

Warrilow’s side are one level higher than Chatham Town and are expecting a tough examination on Saturday.

“Everyone knows what’s going on over there. It’s fantastic what’s happening to the club over there,” said Warrilow.

“I’ve seen them play and they’ve got some very good players and it’s not me trying to water it down, we’re the league above and we’re probably going there as the underdogs.

“They’ve got a choice of probably the best players in Kent to get them out of that level and a few boys have gone there for the journey, as you would as a player.

“Our job is to go there and make sure we progress to the next round and if we do what we do, we’re a very good side and we have to make sure we sustain that and do that. It’s going to be a tough game, it’s a winnable game and a good Kent derby.

“We’re not going there in awe of them, we’ll treat every game the same whether we’re playing a Manchester United or a Chatham Town. We treat everyone the same and we’ll go out there with the same attitude, work-rate and desire. As a manager I respect every team and Chatham will be no different.”

Chatham Town, then managed by Scott Lindsey, turned over Isthmian League Premier Division side Folkestone Invicta 3-0 in the Second Qualifying Round last October, and Warrilow is keen to avoid another upset.

He said: “We have to just do our job, keep our discipline and we’ll be fine.  They’ve got some good players and we’ve kept the majority of last year’s squad and it’s the biggest squad I’ve got as a manager.  We’ve got a couple of boys coming back, so we’ve just got to go there and concentrate on what we do. We’re aware of Chatham’s strengths and we’ve got strengths as well and we’ve got to believe in ourselves.

“If we do what we do, we’ll be fine. If we don’t, we’ll make it hard for ourselves.”

Warrilow, meanwhile, wants his side to be challenging for the play-offs this season, having not finished the past couple of seasons due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“I always put pressure on myself as a manager but as I say to the boys they’ve got to enjoy their football,” said Warrilow.

“We’re at a club where everyone expects Ashford to be up there.  This year people have invested very heavily in this league and there’s some good teams in it.

“I don’t care if you’ve got 10 grand a week or 10 pounds a week, I know what I’ve got at this football club. I’ve got a good set of lads who are organised and we can be there or there abouts. Every manager wants to go up and I’m no different.

“I don’t think there’s an easy game – I know everyone says it – but there isn’t and Saturday proved it with some of the results.  You have to make sure you sustain it and be in and amongst it in the New Year.”

Visit Ashford United’s website: www.ashfordunitedfc.com

Chatham Town  v  Ashford United
The Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round
Saturday 21 August 2021
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Maidstone Road Sports Ground, Bournville Avenue, Chatham, Kent ME4 6LR