We are capable of knocking Hastings out on our day and that’s the intrigue of The FA Cup, says Sheppey United boss Ernie Batten

Friday 18th August 2017

SHEPPEY UNITED manager Ernie Batten says many happy memories will come flooding back to him when his side play Hastings United in The FA Cup Preliminary Round at Holm Park tomorrow.

Sheppey United kicked-off their campaign with a 3-2 home win over their league rivals AFC Croydon Athletic in the Preliminary Round on a depressing, thundery, wet day on 5 August.

The Ites then kicked off their Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign with a shock 2-1 home defeat to Rusthall last weekend, before they came away from Deal Town with a goal-less draw on Tuesday night.

“I’m really looking forward to the FA Cup game against Hastings United because I personally enjoyed the best part of my own football career down there when ex-Chelsea and England player Peter Sillett was manager,” reflected a proud Batten, who signed for Hastings Town in 1979 and scored 120 goals over four seasons at The Pilot Field.

“Hastings are a great club and I have special memories of getting to the First Round Proper with them only to lose to Enfield with myself missing a crucial penalty.

“It’s going to be an extremely tough game for us as I consider Hastings to be one of the top sides in the Bostik South and favourites for promotion.

“I watched them up at Carshalton on Monday evening and was impressed with their overall game.  However, it’s a Cup game and it’s all on the day. We are capable of knocking them out on our day and that’s the intrigue of The FA Cup.

“The FA Cup means a lot to non-league club’s as it’s a chance to earn some much-needed prize money and the good publicity, which it brings.”

Hastings United arrive at Holm Park sitting in eighth-place in the Bostik South table and have defeated Corinthian-Casuals (2-1) on the opening day of the season before coming back from Carshalton Athletic with a point in a 1-1 draw.

Reflecting on his own club’s campaign so far, Batten’s side go into tomorrow’s Cup tie in thirteenth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table.

“We have had an indifferent start to our league campaign,” admits Batten.

“We were poor in our first game against Rusthall, then down at Deal on Tuesday, we were superb without getting the luck in front of goal to win the game.

“However, this season we have brought in seven or eight new players and it’s likely going to take a little time to settle in.

“There’s no panic at Sheppey United. It’s always our intention to build the club and the team sensibly for the good of the club.

“We are already at the point where the club is self-sustainable and now at the start of only our second season at this level. I feel we are on track for a bright future.”

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

Sheppey United  v  Hastings United
The Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round
Saturday 19th August 2017
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Holm Park, St Peters Close, Queenborough Road, Halfway, Sheerness, Kent ME12 3BD