Jersey Bulls shot-stopper: We're not worried by the unknown

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WHILE Jersey Bulls have stressed that promotion from Combined Counties Premier South is the priority this season, the FA Vase provides local supporters with some tasty knock-out action this weekend.

Up next for the Caesareans is a fourth-round home tie against fellow tier-nine side Romford, with both sides gunning to extend their runs and move one step closer to Wembley.

Four more victories will earn a trip to the home of English football, in May.

After safely progressing through two qualifying rounds in August and September, Gary Freeman’s side enjoyed a 3-1 home success against Bearstead in the first-round proper, before navigating past Fisher FC and Athletic Newham in rounds two and three.

The Bulls made the difficult call to forgo FA Cup qualifying this season, after the damaging impact their five-round run made on the league campaign last year.

What feels different this season, though, is the depth across the squad, which may prove enough to compete on a cup and league front.

Bulls goalkeeper Euan Van Der Vliet, who has battled with Pierce Roche for the number one shirt throughout the first half of the season, believes the added competition for places has helped the side grow.

‘I think it can only be a good thing,’ said Van Der Vliet. ‘We have had various injuries over the season so far and what we have proved is that we have players ready to come in and replace them.

‘Me and Pierce have had our own battle going in goal and I think that sort of competition is so important and improves both of us.’

Romford will prove another unknown entity for the Bulls, but the shot-stopper feels that his side have to deal with that, more often that not.

He said: ‘Even in our league games you never really know what the opposition will bring.

‘The Abbey team we faced last week were completely different to the outfit we played in the reverse fixture. Players move around lower-league sides regularly, especially if the club is close to relegation or promotion. We have become accustomed to it and never really get caught up with our opposition.

‘There is a belief in our camp and we always try to dictate the game on our terms, without worrying about the other team.’

Freeman is buoyed by the return of full-back Frank Tobin for Saturday’s cup clash, which should mark a return to the heart of defence for captain James Quérée.

The Bulls are still without winger Fraser Barlow, who has been a long-term absentee, but he is back in training and a return looks imminent.

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