Canterbury City boss Ben Smith: We’ve got to get ourselves playing consistently well before we have a shout of Wembley - but we’ll have to worry about Erith & Belvedere first

Friday 20th November 2015

CANTERBURY CITY joint-manager Ben Smith says the club would be over the moon to reach the national stages of The FA Vase this season.


The build-up to Sunday’s home tie against league rivals Erith & Belvedere has been all about the troubles that landlords Ashford United are perceivably having.

“Well, at the minute for us there’s a lot of rumours, Chinese whispers going around really.  You never really know what to believe,” said Smith.

“I’ve let our chairman speak to the relevant people at Ashford and so far we haven’t heard anything that would worry us but obviously things keep resurfacing so you never know. There’s no smoke without fire is there?

“So in one aspect the stuff we’ve heard from them is there’s no need to panic so we just have to hold tight and see where it takes us.

“We heard this a few weeks ago and nothing’s come off it so yes, the fact that
they’re still signing players left, right and centre tells me there’s not too much going wrong there but you never know do you.

“It’s a bit of a tough one really but you sort of take it what it is. I don’t know if you’ve heard anything from that?”

It’s time to concentrate on a big weekend of FA Vase Second Round ties.

Ashford United host Steyning Town at Homelands Stadium on Saturday, while Canterbury City welcome Erith & Belvedere at the same venue 24 hours later.

Smith said: “It should be a good game. I’ve had them watched. I’ve seen some videos of them as well. They play very good football out from the back – and so do we – so the two teams will suit playing each other. It will be whoever can influence their style on the game a little bit more.

“The team that dominates possession will probably come out winners on that one.

“They’ve got a new manager and brought in a few good players – Ashley Robinson is a very good player.

“I’m sure they will be quietly confident as many teams are when they play Canterbury, but from what I’ve seen of them, I think we’re probably a little bit further ahead than they are at the minute, obviously a new manager going in you can bring in a whole load of players and maybe get a result when they’re doing really well, but the consistency isn’t there from the offset.”

John Wilfort’s teams like to get the ball down and play football and an attacking game is in prospect on Sunday.

“We’ve had a tough run of games really,” added Smith.

“Rochester and Croydon at home, we’ve dropped, in my opinion, six points against them two.

“They came with a clear game plan, credit to them, they tried to stifle us and it worked.

“So over the last couple of weeks we’ve worked on how to break sides down that come to us to just sit back and try to nick one so hopefully we’ll be prepared for that in future.

“That’s a mark on how far we’ve come, that teams come to play us and stop the threats that we pose.

“I’m sure last season or the season before teams came to Canterbury City thinking they can score five or six here today.

“We’re a comfortable mid-table side at the moment but that’s not where we want to be.  On our day we’re probably a little bit higher than that and it goes to that consistency.

“Having a new squad together we’ve just come unstuck over the last few weeks and it’s now time to get ourselves back on track.”

Canterbury City are enjoying their best campaign in The FA Vase.

“It would be great to get to Wembley, I think I’ve said before you never say never, anything can happen in cup football,” said Smith.

“Generally looking at recent years we’ve had a couple that have done well in it but generally the sides that get to Wembley come from the Northern Leagues.

“I think the standard of the Kent League has improved massively but it wouldn’t surprise me if a Kent League side could push on into the latter rounds, Wembley possibly.

“But we’ve got to get ourselves playing consistently well before we have a shout of that but we’ll have to worry about Erith & Belvedere first.

“We’ve never won two games in the same year in this competition so already we’ve made a little bit of history and it’s improving on that now.

“We’ll take one step at a time. Our first target really is to get to the national draw where it opens out and play up in Birmingham or Newcastle or wherever it may be. 

“That for me, going a couple of rounds and getting a little bit of money, that’s our target. If we can get that then the club will be absolutely over the moon.”

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Canterbury City  v  Erith & Belvedere
The FA Vase Second Round
Sunday 22nd November 2015
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Homelands Stadium, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth, Ashford, Kent TN26 1NJ