Jersey get cup fever ahead of VCD visit

JERSEY BULLS will be playing in front of a record crowd for their home FA Cup first qualifying round tie against VCD Athletic on Saturday.

The main stand at Springfield sold out days ago and the club are expecting to see a total of between 1,200 and 1,400 spectators through the turnstiles, smashing their previous record of 975.

Jersey has got FA Cup fever, as they entertain a south-east London side who play a step higher in the non-league pyramid in the Isthmian South East Division.

VCD overcame Raynes Park Vale 3-2 in the previous round, which should give Bulls fans some indication of the quality they possess. Raynes Park play in the same division as Bulls (Combined Counties Premier Division South) and have won four of their five league games.

Like Bulls, VCD have won one, lost one and drawn one in the league. Bulls have scored 14 goals in the last two rounds of the FA Cup but have drawn a couple of blanks in the league. With target man Lorne Bickley unavailable tomorrow as he is away on holiday, manager Gary Freeman will have to refocus his attack, something that has played on his mind since last week’s goalless draw at Redhill.

‘We’ve spoken about it and what we’ve worked on in training is getting back to how we play, where we control possession quite well,’ said Freeman.

‘The opponents are going to have a say in that so it’ll be interesting how they set up but I must admit that last week’s game we weren’t quite happy with how we controlled the game.

‘We had chances but we weren’t as fluent as we’d like to be.

‘But again, what we are finding with the step up is teams are very well organised. We’re not seeing them tire in the last 20 minutes either, unlike the last couple of seasons, so it’s just a case of being patient and trying to break. But as long as the chances are coming I’m not too worried and I think we can still improve.’

Freeman didn’t give an indication of who will take Bickley’s role at the spearhead of the attack, with Fraser Barlow, Jake Prince, Daryl Wilson and Kieran Lester among the options.

The responsibility is likely to fall to Barlow – a scorer of key goals in Bulls’ short history.

‘Lorne has brought something different to our number-nine position but it’s not something we can’t get around with the quality we’ve got,’ he added.

‘We like to play a bit of football and we’ll play everything to the strikers who can then cause some problems.’

VCD should provide Freeman’s team with their stiffest test yet but he is confident his players can overcome it.

‘I’ve spoken to the manager of Chichester, who recently got beat 3-0 by them, and he was very complimentary of some of their players,’ said Gary. ‘We’re certainly going to be in for a tough afternoon; they’re obviously a decent team. And it’s never good enough to be just a three now. It is what it is, it’s obviously a decent team. From what I hear they’ve got good threats in wide areas from some good players who have played at higher level and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.’

Saturday could also see the return of Jay Giles and captain James Quérée in the starting line-up as Freeman names a match-day squad of 18.

Squad: Euan van der Vliet, Jonny Willows, Jonny Les Quesne, Jay Giles, James Carr, James Quérée (c), Luke Campbell, Jack Griffin, Kamen Nafkha, Adam Trotter, Joe Kilshaw, Ruben Mendes, Luca Margaroli, Sol Solomon, Fraser Barlow, Kieran Lester, Daryl Wilson, Jake Prince.

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