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Essex Senior League: Ilford manager Billy Cove believes cup clash against FC Romania is huge for the club

PUBLISHED: 15:00 07 March 2018

Ilford captain Chris Lockwood will miss out through suspension (Pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Ilford captain Chris Lockwood will miss out through suspension (Pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Ilford joint-boss Billy Cove admits it’s a huge game for the club ahead of their Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy semi-final clash with league leaders FC Romania.

The Foxes welcome Ionut Vintila’s men to Cricklefield Stadium this evening (7.45pm) to determine who will progress into the final of the cup competition.

The two sides have met twice in the Essex Senior League already this campaign with the Hertfordshire-based club coming out on top on both occasions.

“It’s a huge game for us, we couldn’t have asked for a tougher draw though, so we will need to be 100 per cent focused and play to the very best of our ability if we want to progress,” Cove said.

“Getting to the final would make all the hard work that everyone has put in this season worthwhile and will give us great foundations to build on for next season.”

Cove had plenty of praise for their opponents and the way they like to play football.

“I am a huge admirer of Romania, they have some of the most technically gifted players I have ever seen at this level, and Ionut has my upmost respect for the way he gets his team playing.

“They have far too many good players, for me to single any of them out as danger men.

“We will need to match them man for man on the night and every one of our players needs to win their individual battle.”

The former Maidenhead United striker believes the pitch conditions could play into their advantage but holds the opinion that it will come down to whoever shows up.

“The pitch isn’t great at this time of the year, so that will have an impact on the way they like to play, however, we are a footballing side too, so it will be just as hard for us,” Cove said.

“I don’t think home advantage will have any bearing on the result, it’ll be who turns up and wants it the most on the night, and the boys are in fantastic form at the moment, so I am hoping we can cause an upset here.”

The Foxes will be without their captain Chris Lockwood for the clash but Cove believes they have plenty of depth in their squad.

“Our Captain Chris Lockwood is suspended for the next two games which is a bit of a blow, but we have enough talent in our squad for it not to have an impact.”

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