East Preston are facing two cup matches in the space of four days as they look to get their season up and running.
Bob Paine’s side welcome SCFL Premier Division rivals Eastbourne United in an FA Vase first round qualifying clash on Saturday, before making the trip to Pagham in the Peter Bentley Cup second round on Tuesday.
East Preston have won just one of their opening six matches in all competitions to start the new season, with boss Paine targeting an FA Vase run to give his troops a much-needed boost.
After being dumped out of the FA Cup at home to Balham earlier this month, East Preston look to have been handed a much more favourable draw in the FA Vase.
EP’s opposition in the first qualifying round are Eastbourne United, a team yet to win in the league this season, but Paine will be taking nothing for granted.
East Preston go into the FA Vase clash on the back of a 4-0 home defeat at the hands of high-flying Chichester City on Tuesday but Paine is hopeful his side can deliver a response.
He said: “I think the final score flattered Chichester City a little bit, but they were clinical in front of goal.
“We’ve faced a really tough start in the league, probably playing three teams that will end up in the top six in our opening five matches.
“What we must now do is take how we’ve been playing into the games when you play teams likely to be around us in the table.
“The home FA Vase tie against Eastbourne United offers us a chance to progress and get the confidence flowing throughout the team. Eastbourne will probably come to us with the same view, we just need to perform how we have and hopefully that will be enough to progress.”
Chichester returned to the top of the SCFL Premier Division table after running out routine 4-0 victors over East Preston at The Lashmar.
George Way’s tenth minute effort separated the teams at the break. City pulled away after the restart, doubling their lead through prolific frontman Scott Jones on the hour. Kieran Hartley got a third minutes later then Connor Cody rounded off the victory late on.
Paine felt his team were punished for any slight error and said: “Chichester are full of quality, have a number of players who’ve played at a higher level and you cannot afford to make the mistakes we did against them.
“We didn’t actually play that badly, as I said, we made a few errors in the game and were punished by a quality team.”
East Preston have another cup game – a Peter Bentley Cup clash at rivals Pagham on Tuesday – but Paine revealed he’s likely to change things up for that one. He said: “I’ll be looking to give players who haven’t featured much as of yet some minutes in the Peter Bentley clash at Pagham.
“It’s important everyone in the squad gets some game time early in the season, this game provides me with an opportunity to offer that to those players.”
EAST PRESTON: Purkis; DaCosta, Searle, Pidgeon; Heryet, Rafferty, Barnes, Lelliott, Brodie; Tilley, Huet. Subs: Jenkins (Pidgeon, 62), Beaney (Tilley, 70), Quirke (Rafferty, 76), Donaldson, Josh Parazo.
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