Ilford have to ‘prioritise’ admits Fenn
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Cricklefield Stadium boss reflects on FA Vase success, facing Bowers tonight and the problems facing his team
Ilford manager Allan Fenn was pleased to progress to the first round of the FA Vase on Saturday, but is focused on the Essex Senior League now despite more cup games ahead, including tonight.
The Foxes are set to face league leaders Bowers & Pitsea at the Len Salmon Stadium in the second round of the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy.
Fenn’s side have already beaten Bowers once this year, 1-0 in the FA Cup at the start of the campaign, but he has been left somewhat frustrated with the fixture schedule handed to his team in recent weeks.
Last Wednesday they defeated Saffron Walden Town 3-2 in the Essex Senior Cup before beating Woodbridge Town by the same scoreline on Saturday.
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Now they play Bowers in another cup clash, but the Ilford boss wished the fixture didn’t come at a time when he needs to rest bodies.
“We knew we had a week of cup action with Saffron Walden last week, the FA Vase on Saturday and Bowers tonight,” said Fenn.
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“The most important thing for me is the two league games we have coming up against Clapton and Hullbridge Sports, they far outweigh the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy which is a shame really because I want to win every competition I enter.
“The fact of the matter is I have a few walking wounded and I will be making a lot of changes, but I did that against Saffron Walden last week and it paid off so we will see what happens.”
Although Ilford defeated Bowers in the preliminary round of the FA Cup back in August, Rob Small’s side have been in fantastic form since that loss.
They sit top of the table with seven victories from their opening eight matches and the only time they lost this season has been to the Foxes.
Fenn added: “Bowers have been on a good run since we defeated them and they are the team to beat this season. Whoever finishes above them will win the league.
“They have Lewis Manor back, who didn’t play before, so they will be a threat and they’ll be high on confidence after beating Barking at the weekend.
“The priority for us is the Vase and the league. We would love to put our strongest team out for every match, but we have to prioritise and I am just gutted they have arranged the fixture for now.
“I was hoping it would rain all day, but we will go there with confidence because we have had a decent start to the season and we beat them before. Yes we know it will be a tough match, but we beat them before so let’s try and do it again.”
Ilford have impressed on their travel lately, beating Woodbridge Town and Tower Hamlets in the past month. Goals from Ajibola Ashnike, Chris Lockwood from the penalty spot and Karolis Atutis earned them £800 in prize money and a spot in the next round.
The Foxes now face AFC Kempston Rovers in the first round at Cricklefield Stadium on October 31 after thoroughly deserving their success last weekend.
“We were the much better side on Saturday. We made a mistake for their first goal. It was against the run of play, but we scored a couple and it could have been three or four before half time,” added Fenn.
“Second half it was all us and we were in command and in control of the game. We got the third and that put it to bed, we made a few changes and then they got one back.
“They could have nicked another at the end, but it wouldn’t have been a fair reflection on the match if they had done that.”
Ilford will now hope for more cup joy this evening, even if they are going to make changes for the clash against Bowers.