Published: 10:18, 28 November 2019
| Updated: 10:19, 28 November 2019
Captain Luke Bigginton can count himself unlucky to be missing the biggest game of Deal’s season.
Bigginton is suspended for the Hoops’ FA Vase third round tie at home to Southall on Saturday following his red card against Tunbridge Wells last weekend.
Town boss Derek Hares felt the dismissal was harsh but it means they will be without their influential skipper as they chase a place in round four for only the third time.
Hares said: “If I thought it was a red card, I’d say so but I didn’t feel it was.
“He went in firm but I was right in line with the challenge and he took the ball.
“The problem was it happened in front of their bench and everyone jumped up and started screaming and that was that.
“He misses the Vase and he’s upset about that because it’s a big game and they don’t come round very often.
“He’s just got himself fit, too, after a few weeks out with a neck problem.”
Southall, like 2000 winners Deal, have history in the FA Vase, finishing runners-up to Halesowen in the 1986 final at Wembley.
They’re ninth in the Combined Counties League and have already knocked out one Southern Counties East side in Tunbridge Wells.
Home advantage could help Deal but Hares believes it’s too tight to call.
“It’s a 50-50 game if I’m honest,” he said.
“Me and Steve King (assistant) went to watch them last week.
“You don’t look at them and think they’re really strong, we’ve got no chance.
“It’s quite the opposite because while we think they’re a decent side, we do feel it is a winnable game for us.
“They beat Tunbridge Wells the round before last, so that tells you they’ve got something, but if we play at our best I’m confident we can go through.”
Deal fans can also play their part this weekend.
Hares added: “We had over 200 again against Tunbridge Wells and hopefully there will be a big crowd in on Saturday.
“If everyone gets behind us, we’ve got a chance.
“The fans can help us, absolutely. The atmosphere at our ground is really good most games.
“It’s nice to play in front of a crowd because it spurs everybody on.”
Kane Smith (hamstring) is doubtful but Lee Scott should return after missing the Wells game through illness.
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More by this authorCraig Tucker