Rivalries set to be renewed in Golds’ FA Cup encounter

Littlehampton celebrate a goal during their league win at home to Pagham last season
Littlehampton celebrate a goal during their league win at home to Pagham last season

Ady Baker believes there would be no better way to start his reign as Littlehampton Football Club boss than scoring a win over rivals Pagham on Sunday.

Incredibly, the two teams were drawn together for an extra-preliminary round FA Cup clash at The Sportsfield.

There has been some needle between these sides in the past and now with former Golds boss Mark Bennett in charge of the Lions, it is sure to add extra spice.

As well as Bennett, Southern Combination League title-winners with Littlehampton Dan Swain and Liam Humphreys joined Pagham last season, while Golds pair Shay Wiggans and Dan Kempson decided to link up with their former boss over the summer.

Baker admits it would be nice to score a win over them in his first competitive game as Golds manager and said: “I don’t want to turn it into something personal, it’s just another game we want to win.

“There is no pressure on us in this one and we’ll just go out and give it our all.

“They have got so much quality in their side, with many expecting them to do well both in league and cup competitions this season.

“Our job will be to try to stop them – it’s not going to be easy but we will give it a good go.

“For the players that have stayed on from previous regimes, there could well be some added extra spice but for the rest of the squad it will just be another game.”

Baker admitted it had been a tough summer but he reserved special praise for the playing and coaching staff that stayed on and helped him out over a tricky few months.

He said: “It has been a tricky summer starting from scratch but we are nearly at the season’s start and everyone that stayed on has been a great help.

“For those who have stayed, getting a win over our rivals in the FA Cup would be a special way to start my time here.

“If we can manage to do that against Pagham I think it would be a real confidence booster going forward.”

Ahead of his first season in first-team management, Baker feels a top-half finish in the Southern Combination League Premier Division would be a success.

With several new players joining over a busy summer of recruitment, Golds’ boss believes it could take a while to get going.

He said: “There is no pressure on myself or the team this season.

“If we could finish in the top half then I’d view that as a success.

“If we can start the season well that would be a bonus but with a new side it could take a while for us to get going. It’s a new team I’ve got here, with some talented players so hopefully we’ll do well.”

Ins: Luke Hutchings, Dale Ledger, Gary Peters, Julian Curnow, Sam van Crughten, Lloyd Carter, Liam O’Connor, Alex Kew, Jake Chaplin, Ben Gray, Jack Cole, Jordan Farrell, Aaron Turek, Chris Darwin.

Outs: Dan Kempson and Shay Wiggans (both Pagham), Scott Packer, George Gaskin, Mitchell Hand (all Shoreham), Jon Hendrick.

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