I’m taking the Challenge Cup tie at Kennington very seriously because that’s our last competition that were in this season, says Sheppey United boss Ernie Batten

Sunday 02nd December 2018

SHEPPEY UNITED manager Ernie Batten says he is going to take Wednesday night’s Challenge Cup tie at Kennington very seriously.

The Ites were knocked ouf of The Buildbase FA Vase in the Third Round at the weekend when they suffered a 4-0 defeat to their league rivals Cray Valley at Holm Park.

The two sides were separated by one position in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table, with the Millers in fifth and both sides on 30 points on the table, seven behind leaders Fisher.

Kevin Watson’s side scored their four goals in the final 23 minutes with Francis Babalola, Joe N’Guessan (2) and Anthony Edgar ending Sheppey United’s longest run in the competition to book their place in the last 32.

Goalkeeper Aaron Lee-Wharton, 19, suffered concussion and a broken nose after four minutes and admitted that he ignored professional advice and bravely battled on during the rest of the game.

He has been ruled out of the trip to Kennington with Josh Glover taking over in goal.

Lee-Wharton tweeted: “Just want to say thank you to both physios (Dario Trgovcevic and Courtney Dobson) for yesterday, appreciate all the help and treatment that was given and should’ve listened and come off but lessons learnt. I’ll be back!”

Batten takes his side down to Ashford next to tackle a Kennington side that are in third-place in the First Division table in the Second Round of the Challenge Cup.

Kennington have collected 31 points from their 15 games and are eight points adrift of leaders Welling Town.

“I’m taking it very seriously because that’s our last competition that were in this season,” said Batten.

“We’ve been to a final in each of our last three seasons. We’ve been to the League Cup Final and the Kent Senior Trophy Final, one it once and got to the final the second time so we hope we get to another final, so we’ll be taking that very seriously.”

Third-placed Corinthian then come to Holm Park next Saturday in the League.

Batten said: “Another biggie! They’re coming thick and fast now. I had that one pencilled in that Corinthjian because I think that’s a massive game.

“If we can bounce back on Wednesday and here next Saturday then this (Vase defeat to Cray Valley) will all be forgotten.”

When asked about the league title race, Batten said: “I think there’s five or six clubs that are competing here for the right really just to be in with a shout.

“Cray Valley with the squad that they’ve got I really believe it is a squad game because if I can get my best 11 players out week in week out we’ll have a fair chance of being in that mix.

“But you need 16 or 17 and it’s very difficult without the necessary finances to get that sort of quality and strength-in-depth, the quality you need to maintain that challenge but we’re progressing and we’ll be continuing to do that and we’ll be looking to be in the mix at the end.”

Visit Sheppey United’s website: www.sheppeyunitedfc.co.uk

Kennington  v  Sheppey United
Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Second Round
Wednesday 5 December 2018
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Homelands Stadium, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth, Ashford, Kent TN26 1NJ