Foxes planning an FA Trophy upset
IT WILL be a test of how far Ilford have come in recent weeks on Saturday as Colin Walton’s side face Ryman Premier side Carshalton in the FA Trophy.
The Foxes have put together a strong run of form recently, unbeaten in five league and cup games, with Walton keen to see how his side shape up against higher league opposition.
“We are as confident as we have been for a long while and it’ll show us how far we have grown as a team,” said the former Clapton boss.
“The signs are good and we will be looking to cause an upset, just like they did against Braintree in the FA Cup last weekend.”
The Colston Avenue side currently sit sixth in the Ryman Premier, only six points adrift of league leaders Lowestoft Town with two games in hand.
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But before the Foxes boss can focus on the trophy tie, with the winners earning �2,200 in prize money, he led the Foxes into a League Cup tie against Dulwich Hamlet last night (Wednesday).
Walton had planned to rest some of his key players with Saturday in mind, after a creditable 1-1 draw on their travels to AFC Sudbury last weekend.
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Midfielder Zubair Haleem has settled into the side and was influential throughout Saturday’s encounter, to his boss’ delight.
“Zubair played fantastically and ran the game for large parts and it is nice that he has settled into the squad,” said Walton.
“But it was a good performance all round, despite Carl Paul’s late sending off, and we held on.”
Chuck Duru (pictured left) put Ilford in the lead after 12 minutes, before the hosts equalised through Lee Townrow with 70 minutes on the clock, only for the visitors to be reduced to 10 men for the last 10 minutes after Paul received his second yellow card.
Cricklefield is a happy home for Ilford of late, with a strong 22-man squad for the boss to utilise, after the additions of Haleem and Danny Gabriel, Walton admits training is a lot easier with a contented team.
“It’s nice to come into training now and see the lads enjoying it, all working together to achieve something for Ilford,” said the Cricklefield manager.
“The atmosphere around the whole club is great and it is testament to a lot of hard work on and off the pitch that we are now enjoying a good spell.”