Progression into the first team squad is important for us as a club, with at least eight players from the Suburban League team making first team appearances this season, says Cray Valley boss Kevin Watson

Thursday 28th December 2017

CRAY VALLEY (Paper Mills) manager Kevin Watson says he is keen to blood reserve team players into his first team squad.


The Millers were last in action on 16 December when they produced a shock 2-1 win at Whitstable Town.

“It was frustrating to not have a game last week as I felt that we were gaining momentum, but the positive is that the players’ have had an opportunity to recover from any niggling injuries,” said Watson, who extended his side’s unbeaten run to nine in all competitions.

“The win against Whitstable was big for us!  We had depleted numbers due to injury or illness and I was concerned about us withstanding their physicality.

“Prior to that gave they had only lost once at home in the League and conceding against the run of play, just before half-time was a blow, but the character and belief demonstrated by the players’ was admirable.

“There of our back four that day have come into the first team squad from our Suburban League team this season and have added to the welcomed selection headache that I will have come Saturday.

“Progression into the first team squad is important for us as a club, with at least eight players from the Suburban League team making first team appearances this season.

“Myself, Tommy Osborne and Kevin James were all watching the Kent Reliance Intermediate Cup game last week against Chatham and there were a few who certainly impressed and we will continue to monitor the progress of the players.  The first team and Suburban League team train together which also helps.”

Cray Valley are in the bottom six in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 24 points on the board from their 19 league outings and they welcome third-placed Beckenham Town on Saturday.

Jason Huntley’s side have collected 36 points from their 18 league games and are five points adrift of leaders Sevenoaks Town, who have a couple of games in hand.

“On Saturday we face Beckenham for the second time in just over a month,” said Watson, whose side thrashed Beckenham Town 5-1 in the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy on 25 November.

“I have no doubt that they will be seeking revenge and since we last played them they have been in good form winning all three league games and it’s no surprise that they are third in the league as they have lots of quality in their squad.

“No doubt they will be looking at chasing the second spot and possible promotion.  I think Sevenoaks will probably go on and win the league but there will be quite a few in the mix for second.

“Sadly, we’re probably too far adrift but we will continue with the same mentality, which is to try to win every game.

“We still have a lot to play for this season and are in the latter stages of several cup competitions.  The only competition where we lost and were knocked out was The FA Cup to Leatherhead, which was no shame especially considering their run in the competition.”

Sammy Moore’s Leatherhead, presently in 12th place in the Bostik Premier, knocked out their league rivals Billericay Town before going out in The FA Cup Second Round to Sky Bet League Two side Wycombe Wanderers.

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Cray Valley (Paper Mills)  v  Beckenham Town
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 30 December 2017
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Middle Park Avenue, Eltham, London SE9 5HP