Brantham boss ‘chomping for a game’ ahead of FA Vase clash against East Preston

Brantham's Lee Grimwood (Blue Shirt) will lead the line upfront today

Brantham's Lee Grimwood (Blue Shirt) will lead the line upfront today - Credit: Paul Ashton

Brantham Athletic boss, Paul Abrahams, has revealed that his players are “chomping for a game,” and they will hopefully get their wish at East Preston this afternoon.

It promises to be a big challenge for Brantham, up against a side who are unbeaten in their league, with the prize a place in the last 16 of the FA Vase.

East Preston, situated on the Sussex coast between Worthing and Arundel, have won 17 and drawn the other three of their 20 games in the Sussex County League Division One. Not surprisingly, they lead the table by a commanding 13 points.

Brantham, by contrast, are nestling in mid-table in the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League, but they can gain heart from their experiences in the FA Vase last season, when they reached the last 16.

“It’s a tough challenge for us, but one that I’m sure the players will embrace,” insisted manager Abrahams last night.

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“We’ve only played one game this year, but at least that has given several of my players a chance to recover from injuries, like Lee Grimwood, Dan Pryke and Nico Farthing.

“We’ve also had regular training sessions, to keep the lads fit. We’ve been having three sessions a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, often double-sessions, so hopefully fitness won’t be an issue.

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“The lads are now chomping for a game. They are up and ready, and I’m sure they will be firing on all cylinders.

“There’s no doubt this is a big game. It’s a national competition, and we have to honestly believe that we have a chance of winning the whole thing. We have to believe that.

“We managed to get into the last 16 last season, and we can again,” added Abrahams, who played 144 senior games for Colchester United as a flying winger during the 1990s.

Brantham can boast a 100% record in 2014, although they have only played one game! That was a 2-0 victory over Norwich United, two weeks ago.

“I suppose you could say I’m a contender for manager-of-the-month!” joked Abrahams.

Their previous game was a 5-1 defeat at runaway leaders Hadleigh United on December 27, six days after a 2-1 home defeat to Haverhill.

Ben Deacon, the star of Brantham’s third round in the FA Vase – he came off the bench to score two goals in a dramatic 3-2 win at Haringey Borough – serves the second of a three-match suspension today.

But Abrahams is hopeful that the likes of Lee Grimwood, Pryke and Farthing will all play, after niggling injuries, although today’s game might come too soon for Jack Sibbons.

Hopefully, the rain will stay away and the game will go ahead.

BRANTHAM (squad): Bedingfield, Pryke, Ryland, Farthing, Travis, Lawler, Cole, Webb, D Grimwood, Gunn, Nobbs, Mann, Smith, L Grimwood.

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