We just can’t wait to get started now, so let's hope that translates into performances and results from the off, says Welling Town boss Kevin Oakes

Monday 31st August 2020

WELLING TOWN manager/chairman Kevin Oakes says he wants his side to prevent a Surrey derby in the next round of The FA Cup.


The Thamesmead-based outfit travel to play Abbey Rangers in the Extra Preliminary Round, with the winners travelling to Chertsey Town in the Preliminary Round on Saturday week.

“Admittedly, we don’t know as much about Abbey Rangers as we would have liked, given that until very recently attending games as a spectator or opposition manager/scout has been impossible,” said Oakes, on the eve of making his management debut in the competition.

“They didn’t play on Saturday otherwise we would have had someone head to watch them then, so we are a little in the dark but based on their squad last season and registered players today, it looks like they’ve retained most from last season, including their top scorer.

“Having finished in the top half of the Combined Counties Premier last season and with a few in our squad having played in that division in the past, we know the level and it’ll be a tough test.”

Welling Town will be missing Ollie Bennett (holiday) and Malik Ouani (knee) for their trip to play Abbey Rangers on Tuesday night.

Oakes, an estate agent, added: “The winners get Chertsey Town in the next round and that’s about two minutes down the road for them as a local derby so Abbey Rangers will be well up for the win and it’ll be important our lads are on it from the start, ready to ensure that doesn’t happen.

“More often than not, if we get our house in order and play and deliver to the level that we all know we can, then we go there quietly confident and looking to win – and no, we haven’t practiced penalties as we’ll be hoping we don’t need them and you can’t replicate that environment properly anyway.”

All FA Cup ties will be settled on the night, with a penalty shoot-out following straight after 90 minutes if no winner is found in normal time.

The Boots were in ninth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division at the time of the coronavirus health pandemic in March.

“On the season as a whole and new additions, we’ve retained almost everyone we wanted from last season,” revealed Oakes.

“There were one or two we were undecided on and in fairness one or two that wanted to move on and we respect that but we’re very pleased with the retentions.

“On the new faces, we’ve added strength at the back with Rob Gilman, signed from Lordswood, who as an ex-pro brings knowledge to the group that is almost impossible to find at this level.

“Amin Benvoucef has had a season out and needs to regain sharpness and fitness but can do some incredible things with a ball, having been a product of Leyton Orient 18 months ago and when he back to his true level will be a very dangerous player for us.

“Billy Muckle, ex Greenwich Borough, has signed, having won pretty much everything with our Sunday side a few years back and brings versatility.

“Caleb Afoke is a man mountain at the back and has scored a few from set-plays during pre-season too.

“Ollie Bennett comes in from various clubs in the Isthmian First and Premier, most recently Corinthian-Casuals and we see the returning talents of Jack Moore, Ryan Golding and Sam Bailey from our previous title-winning efforts, so all in all, I’m very, very happy with the returning players and the additions and we’ve got strength in depth all over the field.

“We just can’t wait to get started now, so let's hope that translates into performances and results from the off.”

Visit Welling Town’s website:  www.wellingtown.co.uk

Abbey Rangers  v  Welling Town
The Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Tuesday 1 September 2020
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Addlestone Moor, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 2QH