LOCAL rivals East Preston and Littlehampton football clubs will battle it out for the County League Division 2 Cup at Arundel tomorrow evening (April 6).
EP were crowned Division 2 champions on Saturday, with their 2-1 win at Westfield, while Golds sit fourth in the table and both side’s managers are looking forward to the game.
Golds boss Mark Bennett believes his side will go into the game as underdogs and said: “The whole club is looking forward to it and we really have nothing to lose.
“No one expects us to win the game and I think we go into the game as underdogs but we’ve had some good results when we’ve gone into games as the underdogs this season.
“I just want the lads to go out and enjoy themselves. Both teams play football and East Preston are worthy champions.
“They’re the best team in the division and they have three top quality players in George Gaskin, Charlie Oatway and Joe Shelley but you’re always going to come up against good players in a cup final.
“If I’m honest, I’d swap the cup final for 15 more points in the league but I’m pleased with how we’ve done this season.
“All the lads, apart from Alex Kew, live within two miles of the ground and it’s nice to see what we have achieved with a predominantly local team.”
EP manager Dominic Di Paola said: “I’m sure there’s going to be a big crowd as there’s a lot of interest in the game from the Arun area.
“Littlehampton are a good side, seem to have a good spirit about them and are a close-knit bunch.
“It’s going to be a tough game. It doesn’t matter who you come up against in a cup final because there will be a lot of nerves as no one wants to make a mistake.
“I’m just hoping that our players go out and express themselves. We’ve been trying to drum into them that it doesn’t matter who we are against, we just have to go out and play our game.
“I’m hoping we don’t freeze as they’ll go into the game as underdogs and that takes the pressure off them and frees them up, so that’s what we’re up against. But it’s up to us to perform on the day.”
EP have a full-strength side available for the game, while Golds have everyone available apart from left-back Dan Kempson, who has a broken nose.
Golds, who won the competition two seasons ago, reached the final with wins over Southwick (4-3aet), Storrington (2-0) and Dorking (2-1).
EP have beaten Seaford (2-0), Eastbourne UA (4-1) and Hailsham (1-0) to reach the final.