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FOOTBALL: Bridport have their eyes on the prize
HENGROVE ATHLETIC v BRIDPORT
JUST three months after Ben Watson’s header won the FA Cup for Wigan Athletic, Bridport join the likes of Quorn, Hassocks and Thurnby Nirvana in the first stage of this season’s competition tomorrow.
The Bees head to Toolstation League Premier Division rivals Hengrove Athletic (3pm) in the extra preliminary round and with a big financial reward on offer they will be hoping to do a lot better than last term.
The winners of this weekend’s tie are guaranteed £1,500 and home advantage against Merthyr Town in the preliminary round on August 31.
However, Bees’ boss Trevor Senior knows he and his players can’t look past tomorrow’s test and Bridport haven’t been helped in their build up with successive losses in their opening two league games.
Senior is expected to go to the Bristol suburb with a similar squad to that which lost to Sherborne Town on Tuesday with captain Ryan Hayter fighting fit after a bump to the head during the 2-1 reverse.
Ashley Staines and Sam Charles featured for the reserves in midweek and could be considered for a place in the squad.
And given what cup football means financially to a club like Bridport, Senior is not playing down the importance of the Hengrove clash.
“It’s a massive game for us,” he said. “With £1,500 up for grabs it’s huge for a club like ours.
“We’ve got to get ourselves up for it and put the last two league games behind us.
“We had a good pre-season and don’t want to get too despondent with the results so far.
“The cup is so important for the club and there is a big reward on offer if we can get through.
“We should get a big crowd at St Mary’s if we make it past Hengrove to play Merthyr.”
On Bridport’s opponents, he added: “Hengrove will be tough. They got promoted to the Premier Division last season and are a hard working side.
“We are going to have to match them and go there with a game plan which we hope will work.”
Senior’s men fell at the first hurdle this time last year following a 2-1 defeat against Buckland Athletic.
Striker Ben Clarke was the man on target for the Bees.
Bees (from): S Filkins, J Filkins, C Clarke, Evans, Hill, Hayter, Legg, Watts, Richardson, Dovell, Condliffe, Wise, M Buckler, Mor-ley, Senior, Staines, S Charles.
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