It's a bit of a step into the unknown, says Lordswood boss James Collins
LORDSWOOD manager James Collins says he wants his side to still be interested in The FA Vase after Christmas.
The Lords welcome unknown quantity Carterton in The FA Vase Second Round on Saturday.
The Oxfordshire outfit play one level lower than the Kent side and are in in fourth-place in the Hellenic League Division One West table with five wins, a draw and two defeats to their name this season.
“It’s a bit of a step into the unknown,” admitted Collins.
“We’re pleased that we’re at home. I think it’s a good draw for us on paper. We’re playing alright, so we’re looking forward to it.”
When asked what he knows about their Oxfordshire opponents, Collins revealed: “Unfortunately not a great deal because we haven’t been able to watch them, which is a bit frustrating because I like to watch teams.
“We’ve had a look at their league table. They’re a Step Six side so you don’t know if their Step Six is stronger than our Step Five.
“It’s just a home draw. It’s nice to play someone you usually don’t play and probably won’t play again, so not a great deal, unfortunately.”
Collins has brought in striker Brendon Cass but revealed he will be starting the game on the bench.
“Excited to get him on board,” said Collins.
“I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago and he hadn’t been playing and asked him if he wanted to get back into it – and he said yes!
“He’s not going to be match fit so he’s not going to be match fit so he’ll go on the bench but he’s a good person to have in the squad.”
Brad Sandeman, who joined Lordswood’s management team at the start of the season, has first-hand FA Vase experiences.
He was Martin Larkin’s number two when Tunbridge Wells went all the way to the 2013 FA Vase Final, losing 2-1 to big-spending Spennymoor Town at Wembley Stadium and joined Lordswood after Larkin left Culverden Stadium in the summer.
Collins said: “I’ve been speaking to him and getting advice from him. I’ve let him speak in the Vase games a little bit more and he said what they always said at Tunbridge Wells was be in the Vase after Christmas and anything can happen.
“That’s how we’re just taking it. We just said if we go out make sure someone’s better and make sure you don’t have any regrets. You only have 10-15 chances to play in The Vase in your whole career.
“If you go out make sure you go out because you weren’t good enough and not taken anything lightly and not given everything you’ve got.
“Brad doesn’t say too much about it to be fair, he said it was a great day (at Wembley).
“He’s very, very (quiet), lovely bloke though. He speaks when he needs to speak. He’s been brilliant for us this season and brilliant with the boys. He’s been a great signing for us. He doesn’t get too high or low, he just says to the boys be in it after Christmas and you don’t know what will happen.”
Lordswood go into the game sitting in seventh-place in the Southern Counties East Football League with six wins, six draws and two defeats.
They have the best defensive record in the division, having conceded only 15 league goals.
“It’s been going well,” said Collins.
“Funnily enough, up until a month ago, I didn’t think we’ve been playing well!
“I feel we’re getting lucky in a lot of the games but the last three games we’re getting unlucky.
“I think we’ve started playing better now and getting some results but hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll be able to carry on how we’re playing and have a bit of luck turn for us as well.
“It’s a good start, it is a good start. We’ve only lost two and got the best defensive record in the league, which is something to be proud off.
“We just said if we can’t win, don’t lose, that’s why we’ve probably drawn too many games, hence why we’ve played very well at home.
“Brad’s done a lot of work with the back four so he has to take a lot of credit for that and Sean Glover, they’ve been really good and I still want to do better than what we’re doing now, but it all takes time, doesn’t it?”
Lordswood are 12 points adrift of league leaders Hollands & Blair but they do have a couple of games in hand over their Medway rivals.
When asked whether Lordswood are title contenders, Collins replied: “I’ve done interviews with you a million of times and I want to win every game and I’ll decide whether or not if it’s successful.
“In the changing room we believe we can win every game. I don’t think people from the outside will think we’re contenders.
“We’ve beaten the so-called top sides this year so on our day we can beat anyone, whether we can be consistent enough and keep hold of our players and whether other people go out and spend lots more on players than we possibly afford, I don’t know.
“But we do believe we can win every game we go into. I don’t know if that makes us contenders or not. I believe that I’ve got a team that can win any game on any day, so we’re just taking it game by game. I know it’s boring but that’s generally what I say in my team talks to my players.”
Visit Lordswood’s website: www.lordswoodfc.co.uk
Lordswood v Carterton
The FA Vase Second Round
Saturday 21st November 2015
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Martyn Grove, North Dane Way, Walderslade, Kent ME5 8YE