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Ashford United manager Tommy Warrilow disappointed to miss out on Christmas derby


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Tommy Warrilow has questioned the Isthmian League’s decision to send Ashford to East Grinstead for their Christmas fixture.

Boss Warrilow feels the league have overlooked an obvious Kent derby, with Hythe just a few miles down the road.

Ashford United striker Johan ter Horst opened the scoring against Corinthian Picture: Ian Scammell
Ashford United striker Johan ter Horst opened the scoring against Corinthian Picture: Ian Scammell

Instead the Cannons are off to Ramsgate on Monday while Ashford travel to West Sussex to face East Grinstead the following day.

“I’m disappointed with the fixtures,” said Warrilow, whose side moved level on points with Isthmian South East leaders Cray Valley after beating Corinthian 3-1 on Saturday.

“We should have a local derby, and it should be Hythe, it’s staring them in the face but instead of that we’re sent to Sussex.

“You look at the other fixtures and they marry up - Faversham v Sittingbourne, Herne Bay v Whitstable, VCD v Phoenix - but for some reason we’ve got a bum deal.

“If we had Hythe, it’s a local derby, and you’re looking at a big gate - maybe even a thousand - which helps whoever’s at home.

Josh Wisson scores Ashford's second in the 3-1 win over Corinthian Picture: Ian Scammell
Josh Wisson scores Ashford's second in the 3-1 win over Corinthian Picture: Ian Scammell

“I don’t understand why we’ve got East Grinstead, I don’t get the logic behind it.

“Even if we didn’t get Hythe, you’ve got Sevenoaks playing Three Bridges, so there’s a Kent derby we could have had, even though we’re not that close, and then Three Bridges and East Grinstead play each other.

“That would make more sense for all four clubs, I’d imagine."

Johan ter Horst marked his return from injury with the opener against Corinthian, in-form Josh Wisson added the second and Luke Burdon completed the scoring.

Luke Burdon celebrates scoring Ashford's third against Corinthian Picture: Ian Scammell
Luke Burdon celebrates scoring Ashford's third against Corinthian Picture: Ian Scammell

Burdon has been on dual-reg at Kennington but the Nuts & Bolts needed him on Saturday after picking up a couple of knocks in training.

Warrilow said: “If I’ve got everyone fit and Luke can get 90 minutes for Kennington, it’s good for us and it’s good for him.

“But we needed him on Saturday and I love him as an impact player for 20 or 30 minutes because he causes havoc.

“I’ve spoken to him in depth and I have a lot of time for him.

“He’s a good player, a clever player.

Joe Denny warms up before the Corinthian game Picture: Ian Scammell
Joe Denny warms up before the Corinthian game Picture: Ian Scammell

“I don’t think he’s ready to start for us yet but if he does what he does and we get a pre-season working with him, I think he could be a very good player for us.”

Ashford included new signing Joe Denny on the bench against Corinthian.

Warrilow hasn’t ruled out fielding the former Faversham centre-back but his arrival is more about helping an old player with his fitness.

“He texted me to ask if he could come training while he looks for a new club,” said Warrilow.

“He’s a nice lad, I’ve known him a long time, he played for me at Thamesmead so we had him in on the Thursday before we played Burgess Hill.

In-form Ashford United midfielder Josh Wisson Picture: Ian Scammell
In-form Ashford United midfielder Josh Wisson Picture: Ian Scammell

“We had a couple of injuries in training so we asked him to sign a form to give us cover on the bench but Faversham didn’t release him in time for that game.

“We've got him registered and if I need him I won’t hesitate to play him but he’s signed to keep fit.

“Joe knows the score and hopefully someone will come in and get his career back on track.

“Until then, he’s around and if he ends up playing and does well, who knows? Stranger things have happened.

“But we’ve got our three - Liam Friend, Dan Hull and Jack Steventon, and Josh Wisson can play there if we need him to - so I’m more than happy with that.

Nuts & Bolts forward Roberto Ratti in action as Ashford beat Corinthian to go joint-top of Isthmian South East Picture: Ian Scammell
Nuts & Bolts forward Roberto Ratti in action as Ashford beat Corinthian to go joint-top of Isthmian South East Picture: Ian Scammell

Leaders Cray Valley are one better off than Ashford in the goal difference stakes, with both sides locked on 38 points going into Christmas.

Warrilow has always maintained the table is irrelevant at this stage but a quick glance reinforces an important point.

“I say this in pre-season, every goal, every point, will count, so let’s treat every game like that,” said Warrilow.

“When you come off the pitch and you’re one goal off the top - not that it matters - it does eat away you, because we had chances in that game to score a couple more.

“The beauty is we’ve got a lot more to come, it’s not like we’re playing our best football every week and we’re still joint-top.”

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