Published: 08:00, 06 October 2020
| Updated: 08:25, 06 October 2020
Sheppey United face challenges on different fronts after being drawn away to National South side Eastbourne Borough in the FA Cup.
Their reward for beating Welling United on Saturday is a midweek trip to the East Sussex coast in the third qualifying round.
“The draw gives us challenges in all aspects,” said Sheppey head coach Marcel Nimani.
“We are playing an opponent that competes at a higher level and not only that we are challenged by the fact it is a Tuesday night and a lot of our boys work full-time, a lot of these boys finish work at 5pm and they need to be in Eastbourne Borough for the match.
“We have a lot of London-based players, players in building construction, a nurse, teachers, from various backgrounds, so the environment is a challenge as well as the quality of the opposition.”
Borough manager Danny Bloor is someone the Sheppey coach knows well, having worked together at Hastings.
Nimani said: “He is a fantastic manager and I am expecting a very energetic Eastbourne Borough side. Danny tends to sign on strong characters and he provokes and gets a good morale. It should be a very physical game.
“We have some idea what we will be up against.”
Sheppey are two wins away from a place in the first round of the competition. They have already progressed further than at any time since the club was reformed.
They are fighting on several fronts. They are due to play away to Bearsted tonight (Tuesday) in the Southern Counties East, Premier Division and face Combined Counties side Molesey on Saturday in the FA Vase.
Nimani is happy they have plenty of players to choose from during what is a congested fixture list.
He said: “This is where (manager) Ernie Batten’s experience and contacts comes into play and (chairman) Matt Smith’s support with the budget has enable us to recruit a squad of 22 players.
“We have 22 players with the ability to step into any side and be first team players. We haven’t hired just any players, the players we have hired have a history of winning leagues and playing at higher levels.
“We believe we have enough experience and quality in the side to be able to switch off from one competition and focus on the next one.”