Sevenoaks Town boss Micky Collins: At times you’ve got to focus on the things that are important to you and this year is very important that we have the best league campaign we can ever have

Thursday 19th October 2017

SEVENOAKS TOWN manager Micky Collins says a lengthy run in The FA Vase will benefit the club.

The Oaks are playing in the First Round for the first time in their history, courtesy of finishing in third-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division last season.

The Greatness Park outfit go into their first game in the competition in first place in the table with a record of eight wins and a draw from their opening 10 league games.

Longlevens hail from Gloucester and play at the same level of football as Sevenoaks and go into the game in eighth-place in the Hellenic League Premier Division table with five wins, four draws and five defeats in the league.

“We’ve got a massive game in the Vase and see if we can put on a performance and get into the next round,” said Collins.

“You never know, they’re unknown quantities these teams. We’ve done our homework and have put a plan together.”

Collins wants his side to take advantage of their home comforts – playing on their artificial pitch – and explained why the tie will be settled on the day, with extra time and penalties if required.

The winners of First Round ties scoop £825, while losing clubs each receive £275 in prize money.

Collins said: “It’s a fair old drive for them to come down. That’s an advantage being at home.  Both club’s have agreed that the game will be finished on the day. It doesn’t make financial sense for us to go up there on a Tuesday.  It doesn’t help them, it doesn’t help us.

“I thank them for that because it makes sense for both club’s.  It’s not that we don’t want to go there on a Tuesday night. You’ve got to get a coach to go there on a Tuesday night. The way the money structure works in the FA Vase, even though there’s a little bit of prize money in it, the prize money’s nothing compared to the cost there is to get there.  They appreciate that. If they don’t get a big crowd, they’ve got to pay us that money so it’s not worth it.

“They’ve been sensible about it and I really appreciate that.  The two club’s agreed it, if it’s that far and that distance it’s a more sensible option.

“It does us a favour because we don’t want to be playing midweek games. We’ve gone out of the League Cup, even though we were the holders. We didn’t want to go out of it, but a better team beat us on the night.

“At times you’ve got to focus on the things that are important to you and this year is very important that we have the best league campaign we can ever have.”

When asked whether Sevenoaks Town will have a go at getting to Wembley Stadium, Collins replied: “We’ll see!  It’s the furthest we’ve ever got without even kicking a ball, based on our league position last season, it got us to the first round proper.

“Let’s see if we can do ourselves justice.  I think the boys think we can do ok in it.

“I think the thing with The FA Vase is there’s a lot of luck involved, there’s a lot of luck in the draw.

“You’re drawing teams that are three or four hours away from you and you get a home draw, then that’s a massive bonus. I don’t care what anyone says, that really helps.

“Can we get to a stage where we end up with a national game? That would be nice, even if we have to travel away somewhere, something that the club hasn’t done.

“I ended up going to Guernsey with Erith & Belvedere, which was a major culture shock for me travelling on a plane going to play a game.

“There’s a lot of luck involved and can we keep people fit and when you’re going for the main prize for us, which is promotion, The Vase can be a hinderance but then you’re but then you’re looking at the benefits for the club and what can we achieve by getting to Wembley and Tunbridge Wells have done it and set that precedent and that will be a massive bonus if we can get anywhere near it.

“We’ll take one game at a time, that’s all you can do at the moment. We’ll pay them respect and see what we can do.”

If given the option of guiding Sevenoaks Town to Wembley in The FA Vase or winning promotion into the Bostik League, Collins replied: “That’s a difficult one!  If I knew we’d win the Vase and managed to achieve that for the club, for what it would do for the club, I’d take second place in the league and still get promotion.

“I won the league before (at Erith & Belvedere) but only my good pal Tommy Sampson has won the Vase (at Deal Town in 2000) so it would be nice to shut him up and beat someone else who has done it!  It would be great for Kent football as well.  Talk to be in eight games time in the Vase and we’ll look at it

“The focus is the league 100% and the boys know that!”

Visit Sevenoaks Town’s website:

Sevenoaks Town  v  Longlevens
The Buildbase FA Vase First Round
Saturday 21st October 2017
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Greatness Park, Mill Lane, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 5BX