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Southern Counties East Hollands & Blair hope to have striker Tom Walmsley involved but boss Scott Porter will need to pick him up from the airport

Hollands & Blair’s manager will be on airport pick-up duty this Saturday in a bid to get their star striker to the match in time.

Blair travel to higher-league East Grinstead Town in the preliminary round qualifier of the FA Cup and boss Scott Porter is keen to have their key summer signing in the starting line-up.

Scott Porter will be hoping his striker isn't delayed when he flies home from holiday Image: James Black (58442991)
Scott Porter will be hoping his striker isn't delayed when he flies home from holiday Image: James Black (58442991)

Tom Walmsley lands on the morning of the game at London City Airport, fresh from his summer holiday, and Porter hopes to be there to greet him. The pair will then head to the match. That’s the plan, anyway.

“I will probably pick him up myself if he comes in on time, if not somebody else will be able to get him, ” said the manager.

“We should have enough time, he should get in and out, hopefully there are no delays and he can be there on Saturday to play a part.”

His kitbag and boots were picked up from a team-mate last Friday so all is ready to go.

Porter’s men will be looking to build on their opening game of the Southern Counties East Premier Division last week, with Blair drawing 1-1 at Holmesdale.

Ben Brown opened the scoring for the Gillingham side before Jacob Skelly levelled midway through the second half for Dale.

Porter was forced to miss the game, with a one-match stadium ban after picking up an accumulation of bookings last season, but had the lowdown on the action.

“I did what I would normally do and let the boys get on with it,” he said.

“It was a game of two halves. We were on top first half, they made a couple of substitutions and they were on top second half. It was just a typical first game of the season, very hot, a bumpy pitch, away from home, we were missing Tom Walmsley and that was a big miss for us.

“It is not the same for the players, no disrespect, when the manager isn’t there. I expect more from them, obviously they expect more from me, but I said to the boys as they went there on the first game, without our main striker, if we can just get something from the game, which we did, we can move on from there and work on things this week and then look to go again for Saturday in the FA Cup.

“We’ve got that one out of the way and then we know Saturday is going to be tough at East Grinstead, a team from the league above. We have had a few reports on them, we will work on that and put a plan into place and try and get something out of the game.

“There are a few in our league that have got tough games but it’s a free hit, we will go there to try and cause an upset.”

Experienced striker Shaun Welford was added to the coaching staff over the summer and at 43 he’s still going.

He came off the bench last weekend and Porter is happy to utilise him when needed.

The manager said: “His sessions have been really good, people have been buying into it and you have to with his experience of what he has done in football, especially at this level and the level above.

“He came on to try and get something from the game, from a set-piece maybe. We will use him this season, especially last five or six minutes, and because you can use five subs now, especially with the likes of Connor Sanders, who can throw the ball absolutely miles, so we will use Shaun.”

Welford will be absent this week, however, as he takes a break with his family.

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