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Margate boss Nikki Bull not taking anything for granted against FA Cup opponents Hastings United

Margate manager Nikki Bull says he will be taking nothing for granted against FA Cup opponents Hastings United on Saturday.

Gate will start as favourites for the third qualifying round tie at Hartsdown but Bull says there is no way he will under-estimate their Ryman League, Division 1 South opponents.

The Gate boss - who celebrates his 35th birthday on Sunday - watched the Sussex side lose 3-2 at Greenwich Borough on Tuesday, and said: “Like Biggleswade (who Gate played in the previous round) it’s another banana skin and, as I’ve said to the players, to be in a position to cause a shock in the FA Cup you have to avoid a few. We’ve avoided one and need to make sure we avoid another one on Saturday.

Nikki Bull Picture:Martin Apps
Nikki Bull Picture:Martin Apps

"I saw the best and the worst of them (at Greenwich). They were 2-0 down after the game's first two corners, so they look like they've got frailties there but they have a lot of very good players going forward.

"They’ve got a number of players who have played at a higher level, and probably still could, and several of their side used to be at Maidstone which will also add a bit of spice.

"They have invested well but as we know all too well at Margate money is no guarantee of success. If we play to the level I know we are capable of it's a game we should win."

The good news for Bull is that winger Alex Osborn (quad muscle) is expected to be fit and the relevant paperwork has now been completed to allow on loan winger Vas Karagiannis to play.

However, centre-half Brett Johnson has a hamstring injury which is likely to sideline him for three weeks and striker Michael Thalassitis looks set to be ruled out with a similar injury.

Scott Donnelly (knee) and skipper Luke Moore (unavailable) are both definitely out meaning there will be another chance for under-21 midfielder Harry Phipps to impress.

Meanwhile, Bull revealed that left-back Danny Fitzsimons is going to spend another month on loan at Greenwich Borough although the Gate will have a recall option.

Striker Marcel Barrington is due to return from his loan spell at Grays this week having barely kicked a ball for the Ryman League club.

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