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Hythe Town visit Leatherhead FC in the FA Trophy first qualifying round

By Steve Tervet

Clive Cook insists underdogs Hythe will go to Leatherhead full of confidence in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

Cannons play one division below their hosts but the manager sees no reason why they can’t go to Fetcham Grove and spring a surprise.

Cook said: “It’s tough but we go there full of confidence, to test ourselves against someone bigger and better than us – in principle.

Hythe Town manager Clive Cook Picture: Gary Browne
Hythe Town manager Clive Cook Picture: Gary Browne

“They’re a division above us so it’s a tough draw. We have got players who will play and we’ve got confidence at the moment.

“We’re not frightened, it’s not as if we’re thinking ‘here we go’. It’s something we’re looking forward to and we believe it could be an upset.”

Promotion out of Bostik South is Hythe’s main aim this season but Cook says they will be taking the Trophy seriously.

He said: “It’s important for the club because of the money side of it. Any club like ours wants the extra revenue from a cup run.

“In reality, we’re not going to win (the competition). There’s some massively huge teams to get to that final.

“But it’s a different kind of pressure, a nice pressure. The pressure in the league is massive because everyone’s beating everyone and there are lots of good teams.

“We’ve set our stall out to get, minimum, play-offs and we’re doing OK. We’re playing some good stuff in patches. We’ve just got to get that consistency throughout the whole game but in big parts of the games, we’re playing well.”

Cook reported good news from the Hythe treatment room where three players with long-term injuries are all close to returning.

Ashley Miller (metatarsal) and Will Thomas (knee) are two weeks away and Cook hopes to have them both available for the trip to Chipstead on November 4.

Meanwhile, former Gillingham youngster Callum Emptage is recovering well from knee ligament surgery and could belatedly make his Hythe debut before the end of the year.

Cook said: “It’ll be like having two new players.

“Callum ruptured his knee ligament, Will’s was stretched and he’s running and kicking now so it’s about match fitness.

“Callum was our best player in pre-season but he’s been out since then and Will only played 20 minutes in the Kent Senior Cup against Folkestone.”

Hythe travel to Tonbridge in the Velocity Trophy on Tuesday.

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