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Bearsted manager Kevin Stevens on FA Cup Preliminary Round trip to Sittingbourne

By Craig Tucker

Manager Kevin Stevens fancies Bearsted’s chances of an FA Cup upset.

Bears, without a point in Southern Counties East, travel to higher-league Sittingbourne in the preliminary round on Saturday.

The Brickies have won two out of two in Bostik South East and are favourites to claim the £2,890 prize money and a place in the first qualifying round.

Bearsted's Constantin Scarlat takes on Chichester in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round this season. Picture: Andy Jones
Bearsted's Constantin Scarlat takes on Chichester in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round this season. Picture: Andy Jones

But Bears raised their game to beat Chichester 2-1 in the last round – the club’s first-ever win in the competition – and Stevens is confident they will give Sittingbourne a game.

He said: “On our day we can compete with anybody.

“We’ve got a few players who’ve played Ryman level or higher, so we stand a fair chance.

“We watched them at Tonbridge in the Kent Senior Cup on Tuesday, we know a few of their players and we’ll be as well prepared as we can.

“I’m sure we’ll be up for it and if we’re on our game we stand a good chance of coming away with a victory.”

Bearsted are one of the few SCEFL teams to operate without a playing budget but that’s not to say the prize money won’t come in handy.

They collected £2,250 from the Chichester tie and even this weekend’s losers earn £960.

Stevens said: “It’s such a lot of money for a club like us, or any club at our level.

“The money we make from the cup goes towards the running of the club.

“The first-team squad will benefit in some manner with a few little bits and bobs we need.

“There’s no playing budget here, no expenses.

“For us, it’s all about getting the right players in who want to play for Bearsted.

“We get a lot of approaches, because we don’t have a budget, but generally they stick around.

“The coaching set-up is second to none and the players appreciate that.

“It is difficult sometimes – the money in this league has gone crazy – but we’re doing all right.

“We’ve had a poor start in the league but we’ll be fine. We just need to get off the mark.”

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