Young players will not be overawed, says Hadleigh United manager Stuart Crawford

Hadleigh United manager Stuart Crawford

Hadleigh United manager Stuart Crawford

HADLEIGH United manager Stuart Crawford believes his younger players will not be fazed by playing in the biggest match in the club’s history on Saturday.

The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side will break new ground when they travel to Tunbridge Wells in the quarter-finals of the FA Vase.

In 1994/95 the club reached the last 16 of the competition, where they lost 4-1 at Metropolitan Police, when Crawford’s assistant Alan Dilloway was manager.

The Brettsiders should have a sizeable support at Culverdean, with the club running a coach to the game and several mini-buses also travelling down.

Crawford said: “Hopefully there will be a lot of people there from Hadleigh to get behind us.

“I know Tunbridge Wells are advertising the game heavily and trying to get as many people there as possible.

“They had around 500 for the fourth round home game against (the holders) Dunston UTS, so there could be 700-800 on Saturday which will create a good atmosphere.”

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However, Crawford is not concerned that his younger players will be overawed by the occasion against their Kent Hurlimann League Premier Division opponents, who booked their quarter-final place last Saturday thanks to a 4-3 victory after extra time at Larkhall Athletic.

“I think my players will enjoy it. They will buzz off the experience. I know if it was me I would relish it and I am sure they will too.

“They have played in front of a few hundred people before, so I don’t see it as a problem,” he said.

“I think it will be about who wants it more on the day. Most FA Vase games are a battle.

“Hopefully we can keep doing what we have done so far.

“The money is massive for a club like us as well. There is £3,500 at stake so it would be nice to collect that for winning and push on to the semi-finals.”

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