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Deal Town boss Steve King looks ahead to last-16 FA Vase tie at Bridgwater United and league trip to struggling Welling Town

Steve King is excited for Deal’s last-16 FA Vase tie - despite conceding the draw is about as tough as it gets!

The Hoops will visit Bridgwater United on Saturday, February 10.

Tom Chapman – scored for Deal Town in last Wednesday’s 2-0 derby victory at Lydd. Picture: Paul Willmott
Tom Chapman – scored for Deal Town in last Wednesday’s 2-0 derby victory at Lydd. Picture: Paul Willmott

The Western League Premier Division team beat much-fancied Farnham 2-1 in the previous round but Deal manager King says his side won’t fear anyone.

“It’s an awful draw on paper,” he said. “I think, of the ties we could have got, it’s the hardest. I’ve got two thoughts on it.

“My first thought - thinking about the Kent Senior Trophy last year - was I recall everybody’s reaction when Punjab beat Erith & Belvedere in the Semi-Final. But in that week of the Final, we lost 6-0 to Punjab and then beat Erith & Belvedere 3-0.

“As much as everyone wants an easier game on paper, there are no guarantees.

“Secondly, our away form is outstanding and we love being the underdogs. We have probably only been underdogs once or twice this season. We rise to that situation.

Deal boss Steve King. Picture: Paul Willmott
Deal boss Steve King. Picture: Paul Willmott

“We will go down there on that Friday night and we will bring a lot of supporters. We have lost two games in 25, so we will not fear anybody at Step Five - Bridgwater included.

“It’s a bad draw on paper but a game that we still think we can win. I’m sure, if they looked at our league and our form, there would have been some disappointed Bridgwater fans as well.

“There’s lots of work to do before then but I’m quite looking forward to it.”

Deal resumed their Southern Counties East Premier Division title bid at rivals Lydd - four days after their 2-0 FA Vase victory against Cobham - with another 2-0 win last Wednesday. Brothers Tom Chapman and Ben Chapman got the goals.

King, whose side had been knocked out of the FA Cup by the Lydders, reflected: “We were delighted with it.

“Lydd is a really difficult place to go and they’re a strong side. We, obviously, had the history of what happened in the FA Cup there.

“Coming off the back of the FA Vase game, I think a lot of people were looking at that as a game we could potentially drop points in.

“But to win - and to win, in my opinion, quite comfortably - we were absolutely delighted.

“It was very windy but our deliveries were spot-on.

“The first half was incredibly physical. There were lots of tasty challenges. They came from both sides, to be honest.

“So, against the wind, to weather that was really pleasing. We then had the conditions and controlled the second half.

“At 2-0, they had one that they put just wide but, other than that, we were in control and possibly could have had more.”

The match saw Adam Molloy make his Deal debut in goal in place of the injured Henry Newcombe.

“Adam was excellent and brought exactly what I knew he would bring to us,” King said. “I have worked with him before.

“It was a difficult game for him to come into. He had never met the lads before. But he was imposing, confident and made a good save in the first half.

“It was a first clean sheet for us for Adam and, hopefully, the first of many.”

The Hoops had been set to host Fisher last Saturday, only for the game to fall victim to a frozen pitch.

King said: “It’s incredibly frustrating. From a club point of view, playing your home games on a Saturday is massively beneficial. We still have got 20 league games to go - even Lydd have overtaken us (on league matches played).

“If it was somebody more local, we possibly could have left it a bit longer. But it’s different when you’re dealing with frozen pitches at 11am and you have people coming from Fisher and a referee travelling.

“It’s such a difficult one.”

Another fixture to rearrange has left them with an even more hectic second half to a potentially memorable season.

But King insisted: “We’re not looking at double midweeks, so we’re still okay in that sense.

“Obviously, we have more home games than away games still to play. That’s not as difficult because we haven’t got to think about travelling as much.

“We’re hoping for some improved weather at the end of January.”

Deal will aim to do the double over promotion rivals Faversham on Tuesday but, before then, they visit Welling Town this Saturday. They are bottom - but the Hoops won’t underestimate them.

“We have a potential banana skin at Welling Town,” said King. “They have picked up some decent results.

“Our away support has been fantastic. But we will go from playing in front of 400 or 500 to then, like we did at Holmesdale, playing in front of about 80 with 50-odd away fans.

“But we have got a very set way that we prepare as a management team. We do the same for every single game.

“Whether it’s a Division 1 team - like Staplehurst in the Challenge Cup - or Faversham in the league, it’s the exact same.”

Deal were 5-0 victors at Kennington in their Challenge Cup Quarter-Final on Tuesday.

Young midfielder Wes Hennessey, dual-registered with Ramsgate, bagged a hat-trick while utility man Joe Reeves and substitute striker Connor Coyne also scored.

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