Published: 06:00, 08 April 2021
Deal Town manager Derek Hares admits preparations for this Saturday’s FA Vase match have not been ideal but he’s just glad to have a game.
All eyes will be on The Hoops - the only club left in the competition from the Southern Counties East Football League - as they host Binfield in the third round behind closed doors at The Charles Sports Ground.
Deal’s league season is over but they have cup football to look forward to. Their last competitive fixture was a win over Saltdean United in the previous round. That match, on December 5, came just over a month after the SCEFL has suspended fixtures.
The team returned from lockdown for a couple of training sessions last week and an in-house friendly on Saturday. The head into the weekend clash after training twice more in the week.
Hares said: "It is probably not enough but as much as we can do, the lads look pretty fit, we were in the same situation before the last round when we played at Saltdean, we just have to make the best of what we’ve got, it’s not ideal but at least it will be the same for them.
“The rules make it a little awkward because we can’t use the changing rooms and the showers so it is certainly not ideal but at least we’ve got a game.
“It is just a shame we can’t have supporters in because if we could have we would have had a really big gate.”
The club are live-streaming Saturday’s match on Facebook for free.
Binfield, who play in the Hellenic League Premier Division and sat second before the league season was curtailed, will no doubt be out to avenge last season’s fourth round defeat to Deal in the same competition.
That tie between the two clubs eventually went to penalties, after a 1-1 draw at home was followed by a 3-3 thriller. The Hoops won on spot kicks. Goalkeeper James Tonkin was the hero that day, saving three penalties and firing home the decider.
Hares is expecting another close encounter but there will be no replay. It’s straight to penalties after 90 minutes for the right to play Fakenham Town away in round four next Saturday. The team had a practice shootout after their in-house match.
The Deal boss said: “The lads are as good as they can be and are looking forward to it, it will be a tough game.
“Binfield were going well in their league, as they were last year but Saltdean, who we beat in the last round were top and hadn’t been beaten at home, so I think we have every chance.
“It is a big game for us. If we can get a win on Saturday then onwards and upwards.”
Sam Wilson is Deal’s only fitness concern ahead of the match.