Ray Turner urged his Faversham squad to play with freedom and enjoy every moment of their promotion play-off ‘bonus game’ at Dorking on Tuesday night.
Town upset the odds to finish fifth in Ryman League Division 1 South on Saturday, taking advantage of an 11th-hour points deduction for Corinthian Casuals and Herne Bay’s shock 2-1 win at Hastings and beating Hythe 4-0 themselves to earn a date with second-placed Wanderers at Westhumble Playing Fields (7.45pm).
Turner - who faces a race against time to make kick-off due to work commitments in Kent - claimed: “I’ve just told the boys to go out and enjoy every minute of it.
“We have got absolutely nothing to lose and it is a complete bonus game for us, one which we didn’t think we’d have.”
He added: “I do think we’re in the top-five teams in the league but I didn’t expect this. It has been the most extraordinary season.
“It’s our third play-off appearance in four seasons - only Folkestone have produced that kind of consistency over that same timescale.”
Last year Faversham suffered penalty heartache at home to Merstham in the semi-final and Turner said: “That was a torturous game - it was tough, nervy and tense - I just hope we can avoid the same thing happening tonight.
“Dorking’s results suggest they have rested a few players lately, and I’m certain they’ll be up for this, but we have a lot of momentum and it’s a one-off game. It comes so quickly after the season you have no time to prepare.”
Turner said one of his fondest memories of his five-year reign at Salter’s Lane came on Saturday, as Town’s players and fans gathered on the pitch waiting for news from Hastings.
He revealed: “It was a day I’ll remember for a long time, their game was seven minutes behind and we were all there on the half-way line when we found out the news.
“I did text (Bay boss) Sam Denly and said I owe him and his boys a case of beer. We did the same to get Folkestone in a few years back when we won at Leatherhead when we were already in.
“I think it speaks volumes for the integrity of the league, teams giving their all for points, even when they appear to have nothing to play for. It is a good advert for the league.”