Barkingside manager Le Sage believes Cup will be a great test for his side

Tim Edwards

Barkingside in action against Athletic Newham earlier this season at Cricklefield Stadium - Credit: Tim Edwards

Barkingside manager Steven Le Sage believes the Len Cordell Memorial Cup will be a great test for his side as they want to be back in the Essex Senior League in the near future.

Side will be coming up against the likes of Woodford Town, Redbridge and Clapton in the group stages, who all play in the ESL while they currently play in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South. 

The boss feels it’s a good opportunity for his players and himself to see how far off they are or how good they need to be in order to get back into that league as well as compete.

Up first is a clash with Woodford Town on Saturday, although it will be played at Haringey Borough’s Coles Park Stadium, with the Woods wanting to wait for the grand return home to Ashtons Arena to coincide with the return of fans. 

“We’re really happy to be back. I think the return of football is so important for people’s mental health, so really glad to be back at it,” Le Sage said.

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“This will be a great test for us and will be a good marker to see where we’re at. We want to be back playing in the ESL so that’s where our motivation is coming from and I’ll be interested to see how we cope with the challenge.” 

Le Sage did, however, admit that because the game is not local the rivalry factor may not feel present for the match along with the fact of not playing competitively for such a long time.

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“It does not really feel too much like a local derby, maybe it’s because the game is taking place in Haringey or just where we’ve been away from football but it’s definitely great to be playing a side from the ESL," he added.

“We’ve not played a competitive game of football since the start of November and both teams won’t be firing on all cylinders so I’m expecting an open game and hopefully lots of goals to welcome back football.”

Elsewhere, neighbours Redbridge will welcome Clapton to the Oakside Stadium on Saturday for their first match in the cup competition, while Frenford host Barking in another group.

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