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Bearsted boss Kevin Stevens playing down occasion as side's FA Vase adventure continues against Abbey Rangers

By Craig Tucker

Bearsted are preparing for the biggest game in their history – just don’t tell the players.

Bears host Abbey Rangers in the FA Vase fourth round for a place in the last 16 this Saturday.

They are just four wins from Wembley but manager Kevin Stevens is doing his best to keep everyone grounded.

Bearsted (white) saw off Newhaven on their way to the fourth round of this season's FA Vase Picture: Sean Aidan
Bearsted (white) saw off Newhaven on their way to the fourth round of this season's FA Vase Picture: Sean Aidan

He said: “We’re trying to keep it low-key with the boys.

“It’s a massive game, the biggest in the club’s history again, but as a team we’re treating it as just another game.

“We’re keeping them level-headed. It’s hard because they all read social media, as we do, but we don’t want them getting too excited or nervous.”

Bearsted’s chances have been boosted with leading scorer Pete Williams set to return from injury, while Sam Flisher is also back after weeks out.

They’ve done their homework on an Abbey side who are fifth in the Combined Counties League Premier Division and fancy their chances.

Stevens said: “Billy Jones, one of my coaches, went to watch them on Saturday and we’ve had a couple of reports from Lordswood and Eastbourne Town.

“Billy’s very confident that if we play somewhere near our best then we should do okay hopefully.

“He said they’re a decent side but we know what we’re about and he thinks we’ve got more than enough to hurt them.

“If we can do that, then hopefully we’ll deal with their strengths.”

Bearsted’s Vase run has captured the imagination of locals and Stevens has called for a big crowd at Honey Lane.

He said: “When you go from 60, 70, 80 to 200, it makes a massive difference.

“It gives the boys that extra buzz when they go out to warm up and there’s a lot of people there. We’ve a couple of our junior sides as mascots as well, which all helps.”

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