Essex Senior League: Barkingside take a step into the unknown against West Essex
PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 September 2016
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Side boss Gursel Gulfer says he knows little about weekend’s opposition
Barkingside manager Gursel Gulfer admits he has not had a chance to watch Saturday’s opponents West Essex in action, but knows they will provide a tough test.
While Side were relegated from the Ryman North last season, West Essex were busy winning the Middlesex County League Premier Division to gain promotion.
Both the Cricklefield Stadium club and West Essex head into Saturday’s match with 10 points to their name, though Side have played a game more.
And having watched other Essex Senior League teams in action on Tuesday, Gulfer says he is fully aware how tough a league it is, even if he knows little about West Essex.
“I haven’t had a chance to watch West Essex, but I know that it is still a difficult league and a tough match,” said Gulfer.
“I had a chance to watch London Bari against Haringey & Waltham in the week and neither were a bad side, so it’s a hard league.”
Side have had a solid start to the season as they bid to return to the Ryman North at the first attempt, with three wins, a draw and two losses so far.
By comparison, local rivals Redbridge, who were also relegated last season, have won just twice having played a game more.
Gulfer himself admits he knew it would take Side time to fully get into their stride this season with so many changes to the playing staff following the drop down.
And though he knows there is still work to do if Barkingside want to win the title, he is content with the progress being made.
“We’ve had to adapt to life in this league and it’s something that we’ve had to get on with since relegation,” added Gulfer.
“Twelve players from my squad last season turned out for clubs in the Ryman Leagues on Bank Holiday Monday, so that shows what we’ve lost from the squad.
“We’re looking at bringing a few more in, possibly on loan from clubs in the Ryman North, because we have to keep strengthening.
“If there is a good player out there who is available, it would be wrong of me to say no to bringing him in to Barkingside.”