Trophy run can save our season

Crawley's Masterton
Crawley's Masterton

Eastbourne Borough manager Garry Wilson hopes to use tomorrow (Saturday’s) FA Trophy clash with Dorchester Town as a springboard to league progress.

Boro’ have lost six Blue Square Bet Premier matches on the trot – their last victory came in the Trophy against Boreham Wood in December.

If Wilson’s men can’t find their form, tomorrow’s trip to face the Magpies – who lie 17th in the Blue Square Bet South – could be a taste of things to come.

Sports fans must hope they won’t be programming the Avenue Stadium into their sat navs again next season.

The boss said, “I don’t think, the way we are, there’s any good time or bad time to play these matches and start winning games, whether it’s cup or league.

“We know how strong the Conference South is, it’s not a great difference – only one level – and as we’ve seen even in the Ryman League against Harrow Borough, they’re tough games.

“We came across Dorchester for years – they were a very big club with a big stadium and we used to battle it out with them when Mark Morris was their manager.

“They’ve still got a lot of players who played a few years ago; three, four or five that were there when we were in the Conference South.

“It won’t be easy; their team sheet will have players on with league experience.”

The sides last met in February 2008, when a rampant Boro’ ran out 4-0 winners thanks to strikes from Andy Atkin, Pat Harding, Darren Budd and Neil Jenkins. A repeat performance would set the Sports up nicely ahead of four crunch league matches.

Wilson added, “After this we play Kettering (away), Tamworth, Grimsby, Gateshead (all home) – there is a run of games where we can get our form to where it should be.”

Progress to round three would also boost the club’s coffers at a time when many non-league sides are feeling the pinch.

As well as a share of gate receipts, Boro’ would stand to earn £6,000 in prize money. However, once again Wilson must make wholesale changes to his side, a factor which has held the Sports back in recent weeks.

Recent loan addition Steve Masterton is cup tied, having previously appeared for parent club Crawley Town in the competition. Luton loanee Dan Walker misses out for the same reason.

Atkin (hamstring) and Gary Elphick (calf), who both hobbled off in last weekend’s defeat to Mansfield, are doubtful, while new signing Eddie Hutchinson (thigh) has trained this week but the tie may come too soon for him.