If you take your foot of your gas or you think it’s going to be an easy ride against any side in The FA Cup, that’s where you come unstuck, warns Dartford co-manager Jamie Coyle

Thursday 20th September 2018

DARTFORD joint-manager Jamie Coyle says his players will have to be mentality right for their FA Cup Second Qualifying Round tie at AFC Uckfield Town on Saturday.

The Darts travel to Uckfield sitting in sixteenth-place in the Vanarama National League South table with 11 points on the board from their 10 league outings and came away from Billericay Town with a point in a 1-1 draw last weekend.

The Essex side took the lead four minutes into the second half through Jake Robinson’s penalty, but Dartford grabbed a point through a late Jamie Philpott goal.

“I was really pleased. I was pleased with the character of the boys, once again, to be patient and stick to the task and we thoroughly deserved the goal and get something out of the game,” said Coyle.

“It was our best performance of the season in terms of our attacking play. We created a hell of a lot of chances in the final third but we’re just lacking that end product at the end.

“The real promising thing for us is we’ve gone games where we’ve had one or two shots on target and not troubling the goalkeeper and that was a concern but we’ve made steps forward with regards to looking a threat on the break and going forward in the game, especially like a side like Billericay, who I’m sure will be up there and challenging for the league, there were some real positive signs.”

Reflecting on Dartford’s start to the season, a disappointed Coyle admitted: “Slower than expected but we’re constantly analysing and constantly looking how we can improve.

“We had a brilliant start after three games and we done really well but I still think there were signs where we needed to improve.  We’re not hiding from the fact that we’ve not scored enough goals in open play all season.

“The pleasing thing from Saturday was we looked a constant threat and it was brilliant to get the equaliser so late on but the good thing is we’re creating a hell of a lot of chances against a team that are going to be up there challenging.”

Adam Flanagan and Coyle take their side to East Sussex to play AFC Uckfield Town  - a side that are unbeaten in 12 games in all competitions after losing their first league game of the season, 4-3 at home to Horsham YMCA.

The hosts are in fourth-place in the Southern Combination Premier Division with 11 points from six games and are play three levels lower than Dartford.

“It’s going to be a real tough game,” warned Coyle.

“Adam and I have sat down and watched three of their games now. They’re a very, very good side.  They’re 12 unbeaten. Irrelevant of the league they’re in, they’ve got some good players.    They’ve got quite a bit of pace going forward.  A guy up top (Callum Smith) that’s scored quite a few goals (14) already this season and a number of clean sheets (six from 12 games) out of their unbeaten run.

“It’s going to be difficult and we’re preparing this week like we do every week, like we’re playing a league game.

“The players need to be fully aware of the strengths that they’re going to pose us on Saturday.

“We’re mentally prepared and physically prepared like we are every week and hopefully we make another step forward from last Saturday and if we play anywhere near we did last week then we should get through to the next round.”

Dartford’s players will not be used to Uckfield’s surroundings and as their player-manager Anthony Storey revealed, “a lively pitch,” and Coyle seeks professionalism from his team to avoid being on the end of a FA Cup giant-killing act.

“What you basically do is you prepare for the game just like any other and you make sure the players are mentally right and focused and they’re aware of the strengths and the areas we look to expose in the opposition,” explained Coyle.

“If you take your foot of your gas or you think it’s going to be an easy ride against any side in The FA Cup, that’s where you come unstuck.

“We’ll make sure the boys are in the right frame of mind and they understand the importance of this game and for the players and the management team and the club and the fans.

“It’s a real important game that we try to progress through to the next round.

“I’ve had a real success as player in The FA Cup, playing in the Second and Third Round with some giant killings even in the First Round in my time (at Maidstone United) and it’s just a great feeling for everyone at the club.

“It can kick-start some form in the league as well a little bit so there’s so many positives that can come out of a good performance and a good result on Saturday.”

Dartford, meanwhile, have received permission to hand defender Kenneth Yao, 20, his debut on Saturday, having signed him on an initial month’s loan from their Sky Bet League One neighbours Charlton Athletic.

Visit Dartford’s website:  www.dartfordfc.com

AFC Uckfield Town  v  Dartford
The Emirates FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
Saturday 22 September 2018
Kick Off 3:00pm
at The Oaks, Eastbourne Road, Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 5QL