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Sheppey United hope to challenge in the Southern Counties East Premier Division and FA Vase this season

Sheppey United will return from a month-long lockdown with a two-frontal assault that an indepth squad has made possible.

Head coach Marcel Nimani believes they have what it takes to challenge for promotion in the Southern Counties East, while also battling it out in the FA Vase, thanks to their strength in depth.

Sheppey United are the only unbeaten team in the SCEFL Premier Division Picture: Paul Owen Richards
Sheppey United are the only unbeaten team in the SCEFL Premier Division Picture: Paul Owen Richards

It’s set to be a congested schedule when teams return - if as hoped the suspension on football is lifted on December 2 - and teams still might need a couple of weeks training before they can get back in action.

The league say competitive action will resume on Saturday, December 12, assuming the lockdown ends on the second, and Sheppey will be well placed when they do.

Nimani said: “We are certainly aiming to run the FA Vase and the league in the same spirit and we have planned them exactly the same in terms of scouting the opponents and planning and we will field what we feel is the strongest team.

“The experience from Matt, the chairman and his support with the budget has been brilliant, and the experience of Ernie (the manager) in the league in terms of recruiting a squad with depth has been absolutely spot on so far.

"Within the recruitment I feel that we haven’t just recruited numbers, we have recruited the right ingredients. The players who have come in have not only settled well but have contributed massively, not just the playing quality but the cohesive side of the game. The recruitment has been well-calculated from Ernie and Matt.

“I want us to give the island and the fans the excitement that they get from the cup runs and I genuinely felt sorry for our fans last year. We had a really good run in the Kent Senior Trophy, all the way to the final, and they didn’t get chance to see their team.”

The first lockdown saw the final against Corinthian, planned for April 19, suspended as non-elite football was declared null and void for 2019/20 but there is a chance that game could still be played at some point, if fans are allowed in. The Kent FA have scrapped their county competitions this season in an effort to ease congestion.

Sheppey had been due to play Tunbridge Wells last weekend but, as expected, all non-elite football was put on hold.

The Ites have played nine games so far, without defeat, the only side who haven’t lost a game so far in the SCEFL Premier Division. With cup games included, the team have already played 23 games in the first three months since returning, showing they have the ability to compete on more than one front.

Read more on non-league football in Kent

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