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Deal Town are hoping that the Southern Counties East League game against troubled Canterbury City goes ahead

Deal are hoping this weekend’s game at troubled Canterbury goes ahead after their opponents were left without any players.

Manager Clive Cook, his staff and squad quit City at the end of last week after their relationship with the board broke down over late payment of wages and a budget cut.

Canterbury couldn’t raise a side for Saturday’s Southern Counties East League game at Tunbridge Wells, although it would have been postponed anyway due to a waterlogged pitch.

Deal manager Derek Hares
Deal manager Derek Hares

City have put a new management team in place and while there’s not much time to get a squad together, they could always field reserve-team players at Salters Lane this Saturday.

Deal boss Derek Hares said: “We’ll have to keep an eye on Canterbury’s situation to see if we have a game.

“I’m assuming they will have a side but we don’t know.

“I never had a sense there were any problems at Canterbury.

“You don’t want to see any club struggling but we can only get on with our jobs.

“Whoever they get in, you can’t just get a team from nowhere and if the budget’s gone that makes it twice as bad.

“It’s a case of watch this space but hopefully we’ll get an indication early in the week.

“If it goes ahead we just have to treat it as a normal game.

“We’re playing Canterbury, regardless of what side they put out, and we have to try and win.

“We can’t go out thinking they’re not as strong as they were a couple of weeks ago.

“In some ways it makes it worse for us because it’s a bit of the unknown.

“We don’t know who we’ll be facing at all. There’s not loads of players around to say ‘come and play for us’.

“I suppose they could fulfil the fixture with reserves but that’s not our worry. Our worry is to play the game and get three points.”

Deal saw Saturday’s home match against Lordswood called off due to a waterlogged pitch and they won’t train this week, with Hares telling his players to enjoy Christmas.

He said: “We won’t be training this week – I can’t see many people turning up on Christmas Eve!

“They can enjoy the week off and look forward to Saturday in the hope we have a game.

“The little bonus to come out of Lordswood being off is that anyone who was injured should now be fit for the weekend.”

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