‘Firm favourites’ Needham must be on their mettle in Kent

Needham's Adam Mills tricks his way past a Kettering defende during last weekend's 3-0 home defeat.

Needham's Adam Mills tricks his way past a Kettering defende during last weekend's 3-0 home defeat. Needham are in FA Trophy action at Herne Bay this weekend. Picture: BEN POOLEY - Credit: Archant

Needham Market boss, Richard Wilkins, has admitted that his side will start as “firm favourites” to win at Kent hosts Herne Bay in tomorrow’s FA Trophy second qualifying round tie.

However, Wilkins has warned that shock results will happen, up and down the country, tomorrow afternoon, and that his team should therefore be on their guard.

Before last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to promotion favourites Kettering Town, the in-form Marketmen had won three and drawn one of their previous four fixtures.

Back up to 13th spot in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Central table, and having won 2-0 at King’s Langley in the previous round of the Trophy, the Suffolk side will fancy their chances at a Herne Bay outfit who play at a step lower (Bostik League One South-East), and are currently second from bottom with just one league win all campaign.

“On paper, it’s a game we should win,” said boss Wilkins.

“However, it’s a different kettle of fish when it comes to 3pm on a Saturday. There will be surprises this weekend, and although we will probably start as firm favourites, we cannot treat the opposition lightly.

“For us it’s yet another away draw in a cup competition. Herne Bay are struggling in their league, but I gather they are in a false position. Apart from last weekend, when they were beaten 7-1 by VCD Athletic, they have tended to lose games by the odd-goal.

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“They are known as a footballing team, who like to get the ball down and play, although perhaps they are a bit naive. But we will have to be on our guard.

“The Kettering match was always going to be a difficult one, against a team whom I’m sure will end up winning the league. They are the Billericay Town of our division.

“But we were very much in that game until they scored their first goal, after which we lost our composure a little. All three of their goals were good finishes, but all three came down to our own errors.

“This weekend is a long trip for us, and it’s cup football. That means one bad decision, one bizarre goal, or one great goal, can be the difference,” added Wilkins.

Jamie Griffiths misses out tomorrow, but should return next week. Otherwise, Needham are at full strength.

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