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Maidstone United head of football John Still says FA Trophy is more important than FA Cup

John Still felt Maidstone players had Blackpool on their minds during the FA Trophy draw with Dartford.

United visit the League 1 club in the FA Cup second round next weekend but Still says the FA Trophy is more important.

John Still talks tactics with captain George Elokobi Picture: Matthew Walker
John Still talks tactics with captain George Elokobi Picture: Matthew Walker

So he was disappointed with a lacklustre performance against the Darts as the sides drew 2-2 for the second week running.

Maidstone twice took the lead, through Dan Wishart and Justin Amaluzor, but Elliott Romain’s double took the third qualifying round tie to a replay on Tuesday night.

Asked if the players had one eye on Blackpool, Still said: “Yes, I do think that but as we said before the game, if we feel people aren’t actually putting it in, we’re not going to play you next week.

“People have to understand that at this level we’re never, ever in a million years going to win the FA Cup but you could win the FA Trophy, which is an unbelievable day out, and I think people should die to do that.

“There’s no bigger game next week because we haven’t picked a team for it. The bigger game was today.

“It was lacklustre, there was no real energy, no real up and at ‘em, the game was slower, we didn’t speed it up.

Maidstone midfielder Cameron James plots his next move with Ross Marshall close by Picture: Matthew Walker
Maidstone midfielder Cameron James plots his next move with Ross Marshall close by Picture: Matthew Walker

“All the things we normally do and the way we normally play wasn’t evident today - it was really disappointing.

“If you get beat, get beat, there’s nothing wrong in being beat, but don’t get beat when you think we could have done a lot more.

“We’ve had a result today because I think we deserved to get beat.”

Maidstone could perhaps have done without a replay in FA Cup week but Still and Hakan Hayrettin have no intention of fielding a weakened side on Tuesday night.

Still said: “I don’t think there’s any fear of us not being strong, strong. I’d sooner be strong, strong there and not strong at Blackpool to be honest.

“That’s more important to us, that’s a chance for this club to go to Wembley. Who’s going to pass that by?"

Jake Embery in action for Maidstone against Dartford Picture: Matthew Walker
Jake Embery in action for Maidstone against Dartford Picture: Matthew Walker

Still and Hayrettin confirmed Ibby Akanbi’s first-half substitution was precautionary after feeling his hamstring.

It meant an extended run-out for Jake Embery, who set up the first goal.

Still said: “Jake didn’t get too much service but he assisted the goal and he worked hard.

“We like Jake and we think he’s ready now.

“It’s just unfortunate he came on in a game were we didn’t supply as much as we normally do.”

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