Make no mistake, this is a tough, tough draw, says Erith & Belvedere boss Derek Oldfield

Monday 31st August 2020

ERITH & BELVEDERE manager Derek Oldfield says his first game in charge of the club has thrown up a tough, tough FA Cup away tie.

The Deres make the trip to Ashford to tackle Kennington in the Extra Preliminary Round.

The Southern Counties East Football League First Division side will be making their FA Cup debut on Tuesday night and as a result have sold out all of the tickets for the Homelands clash.

Erith & Belvedere were struggling at the foot of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division last season, while Kennington were at the top of the First Division table when the campaign was called to a halt due to Covid-19.

Oldfield, who has previously managed the reserve sides at Phoenix Sports and Stansfeld, has given Dan Scorer’s side the favourites tag going into the game.

“Make no mistake, this is a tough, tough draw,” said Oldfield, one of many London black cab drivers taking part in FA Cup qualifying this season.

“We’re up against a very well organised team in Kennington, who by rights would be starting their first season in the Southern Counties East Football League Prem if it wasn’t for the pandemic, so don’t let the League they’re currently in fool you in to thinking they’re lesser opponents because that would be a big mistake!

“In Kennington you have a team that has been together for the last three or four seasons now and we’re still at the embryonic stages of a transformation, so they are firmly the favourites, for me, going in to the game.”

Due to the delayed re-start to the season, half of the six qualifying round ties will be played in midweek and there will be no extra-time or replays this year with games being settled by a penalty shoot-out if scores are level after 90 minutes of football.

“Personally, I don’t think it matters what day you plan a FA Cup tie on as they’re all special occasions,” added Oldfield.

“Kennington have managed to sell out the 300 capacity of the game, so that proves that people will go and watch whatever day or night the games are played. If anything, midweek under the lights just adds to the occasion.

“I’m not a big fan of practising penalties, as you can never replicate the conditions of a shoot-out in a training session.”

Erith & Belvedere kick-off their League campaign with a home game against Chatham Town on Saturday 5 September (15:00).

Scott Lindsey’s side thrashed Erith & Belvedere 8-1 when the two sides last met at Park View Road on Tuesday 25 February.

“Our aspirations for the season are just to do better than last season, nothing more,” said Oldfield.

“Building a new team completely from scratch isn’t easy but we’re working hard on implementing a playing style and philosophy that will hold us in good stead for many seasons to come.

“We’ve only been working together for five weeks but you can see already that the players are buying into what we want to do and how we want to do it.

“It’s going to take a lot longer than just five weeks to really implement everything but we’re as ready as we can be right now.

“I’ve got nothing but praise and thanks to all the players and staff commitments that have gone into getting us to where we are right now.”

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Kennington  v  Erith & Belvedere
The Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Tuesday 1 September 2020
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Homelands Stadium, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth, Ashford, Kent TN26 1NJ