Mid­field two pose threat

Dun­ston pair could hold the key

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport - By An­drew Gi­d­ley

Danny Lye be­lieves deal­ing with Dun­ston’s mid­field threat is key to Ash­ford United’s chances of win­ning their FA Vase fifth round re­play in Gateshead on Satur­day.

The Home­lands play­er­man­ager, who turns 35 to­day (Thurs­day), knows it will be tough in the North East, with the weather and pitch con­di­tions also play­ing their part, as both teams chase a place in the quar­ter-fi­nals and a trip to one of the com­pe­ti­tion’s favourites, Sal­is­bury FC, man­aged by Steve Clar­idge.

Lye said: “Dun­ston’s hold­ing and at­tack­ing play­ers are a dan­ger and two we have to watch and nul­lify them both.

“We also need to play higher. We dropped too deep at times on Satur­day, which can be our Achilles heel when play­ing at home. It’s go­ing to be a small, heavy pitch up there and will be a bat­tle.”

Lye added: “Be­ing drawn against Sal­is­bury is a nice in­cen­tive for the boys but we can’t worry about that un­til af­ter Satur­day.

“It’s a long time since I played there but it means noth­ing at the mo­ment.”

Ash­ford are trav­el­ling in style, us­ing Maid­stone United’s first team coach for the trip, stay­ing overnight in New­cas­tle ahead of the game.

Club of­fi­cials were de­lighted with the at­ten­dance of 636 at Satur­day’s game, boosted by matches in­volv­ing two of their neigh­bours – Folke­stone and Hythe – be­ing post­poned.

In­victa boss and for­mer Ash­ford man­ager Neil Cu­g­ley was there, with Tommy Samp­son – who man­aged Deal to Vase vic­tory at Wem­b­ley – in 2000 among the guests.

Mean­while, long-term ab­sen­tee Gary Clarke is putting no timescale on his re­turn to ac­tion.

The United skip­per has been side­lined since Septem­ber with an ab­duc­tor mus­cle prob­lem.

He then had his re­cov­ery de­layed af­ter suf­fer­ing an­other tear.

He said: “I have been do­ing a lot of work on the tread­mill and lots of other dif­fer­ent ex­er­cises and keep­ing busy do­ing other things, be­cause not be­ing able to play has frus­trated the hell out of me.”

United un­der-18s are also chas­ing sil­ver­ware and host Hen­don in the Ry­man Youth League Cup semi-fi­nals tonight (Thurs­day, 7.45pm).

Pic­ture: Paul Amos FM4198357

Ash­ford’s Ryan Palmer has this ef­fort saved by Dun­ston keeper Liam Con­nell dur­ing Satur­day’s FA Vase fifth round

tie at Home­lands. Match re­port, 69

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