I won’t think we can’t win the league until it’s mathematically impossible but let’s try and get that fourth-place and a Cup Final and it’s been an ok season, says Cray Valley boss James Collins

Friday 03rd February 2017

CRAY VALLEY (Paper Mills) manager James Collins admits his side should be doing better in his first season in charge.

Collins left Lordswood to take charge of the Eltham-based club and defeated his old club 4-0 on Wednesday night to seal a trip to Deal Town in the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy Semi-Finals on Saturday 11 February, with the winners facing Ashford United or Canterbury City in the Final.

The Millers are in the top eight in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table, having collected 44 points from their 24 games.  They are 11 points adrift of leaders Ashford United going into tomorrow’s trip to seventh-placed Hollands & Blair.

“That will be a tough game,” said Collins, who has 14 league games left to play this season.

“We haven’t played them in the league yet. We beat them in the Cup 3-2 and we went 2-0 up and had a man sent-off and to be fair to them they probably should’ve won the game. It went two-all and we snatched it at the death.

“They’re going to be very hard to beat. It’s going to be difficult going there and it will be a test for us but we’re five unbeaten now and two wins on the bounce so we go there with confidence and hopefully we’ll win the three points.”

Reflecting on Cray Valley’s league position, Collins admitted: “I’ll reflect at the end of the season. We’re four points of fourth-place (Sheppey United). Personally what do I want? I want to win the league. Being eighth at the moment, we’re not where I want us to be.  No excuses. We want to finish as high as we can.  I think the highest this club has finished is seventh.

“I think in the SCEFL there’s usually two teams that breakaway and everyone else are so many points behind.  I’ve checked this. Last season Lordswood were fourth and I think we’ve got four more points than Lordswood last year so we’re closer to first than what Lordswood were last year but further down the table.”

Cray Valley travel to Vanarama National League South side Welling United next Tuesday, 7 February in the London Senior Cup (Sponsored by Coventry Scaffolding) Second Round.

“It will be a good to test ourselves against a National League South side,” said Collins.

“Whether they play their first team, you don’t know, it will be nice. It’s a nice ground to play at so we’ll just go there, we want to win the game because we want to win everything but we’ll just go and enjoy ourselves.

“We’ve got a lot of football coming up so it might be an opportunity for some players who haven’t played to get some minutes.

“We’re in a Semi-Final now, we’re in a Quarter-Final against Ashford. We’re 11 points off the top.  I said it at Christmas, Crowborough, Ashford and Sevenoaks are better than us and I think they’ll finish above us.  I think fourth-place is up for grabs.  I’d like to finish as high as we can.

“I won’t think we can’t win the league until it’s mathematically impossible but let’s try and get that fourth-place and a Cup Final and it’s been an ok season.”

Hollands & Blair were defeated 2-0 at Crowborough Athletic in their last game a couple of weeks ago.

“Unfortunately we haven’t played since our defeat to Crowborough a couple of weeks ago so we haven’t had the opportunity to get back at it after that defeat, which is always frustrating for the players,” said boss Bryan Greenfield, who like Collins is in his first season in charge of his club.

“We’re hoping tomorrow’s game isn’t postponed as well as we all want a game of football on a Saturday afternoon!

“We’re looking forward to another tough test against one of the better sides in the League in Cray Valley.

“They are unbeaten in five games including their game the other evening so it’s another chance for the boys to test themselves and try to take out the frustrations of our poor run of form (three defeats in the last four games).

“They beat us in the Cup at their place earlier on in the season so we owe them for that and a chance to put our form back on track. Fingers crossed the rain stays away and we get some football played!”

Visit Hollands & Blair’s website:  www.hollandsandblair.co.uk

Visit Cray Valley’s website:  www.cray-valley.co.uk

Hollands & Blair  v  Cray Valley (Paper Mills)
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 4th February 2017
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Star Meadow, Darland Avenue, Gillingham, Kent ME7 3AN