It will be a little strange to go from friends to rivals for 90 minutes tomorrow, says Welling Town boss Kevin Oakes

Friday 25th September 2020

WELLING TOWN manager/chairman Kevin Oakes says his friendship with Tunbridge Wells’ manager Richard Styles will be put to one side for 90 minutes tomorrow.

The rookie Boots manager has guided his club to the top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table thanks to a 100% record in four league outings and he takes his side to the passionate Culverden Stadium to face The Wells who have won all three of their league games.

Tunbridge Wells have suffered back-to-back cup defeats during the past week, having been knocked out of The FA Vase in the First Qualifying Round by league rivals K Sports (2-1) and then found Isthmian League Premier Division side Haringey Borough in top form, going down to a 5-1 defeat in The FA Cup First Qualifying Round at Coles Park on Tuesday.

“We’ve got off to a great start and the lads have been fantastic all pre-season working hard and taking on board what I and the rest of the management team want them to absorb,” said Oakes.

“We’ve got some very good players in the group, sensible people wanting to work hard, listen and learn, improve their game and a group that already really want to battle hard for themselves and their team-mates.

“We’re still a work in progress with more to come and the future looks pretty exciting.

“We’re certainly not getting carried away with the good start but we are pleased that the efforts thus far have been rewarded and we’ll be doing all we can to ensure that continues tomorrow and in to October.”

Styles works full-time for Charlton Athletic Community Trust and they have a link with Welling Town with bringing young players through the system.

After finishing in fifth-place last season, Styles said he is searching for improvement this season and currently in second-place in the table, The Wells are going in the right direction.

The club made their debut appearance in The FA Youth Cup last night but went down to a 3-1 defeat to Margate in the First Qualifying Round at Meridian Sports & Social Club in Charlton.

Oakes said:  “Likewise, Tunbridge Wells are up there already for a reason after finishing fifth last season and it’s sure to be another tough test against a side and certainly management I know pretty well.

“Richard was very nearly Welling Town manager from our inception in 2014 before going to Lordswood.

“We’ve been good friends since going to college together in 2003 and though his employment at Charlton Athletic Community Trust we speak most days about that link-up and player recruitment, so it will be a little strange to go from friends to rivals for 90 minutes tomorrow.

“Given he has retained many of the squad from last season, we know a lot about what we are walking in to and we’ll be set-up ready to give them the challenge I am sure they are looking for and hope that if we perform as we all know we can that we’ll get something from the game.” 

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Tunbridge Wells  v  Welling Town
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 25 September 2020
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Culverden Stadium, Culverden Down, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9SG