JOE Anderson admits it’ll be strange facing his former Hornchurch teammates so soon after leaving the club, but added he’ll be totally focused on helping new side Billericay progress to the next round of the FA Cup when the two sides meet at New Lodge tomorrow.
A bumper crowd is expected as Town host the Urchins in arguably the tie of the second qualifying round, in a match which kicks-off at 3pm.
Billericay signed Hornchurch’s reigning player of the year Anderson at the beginning of the month, and since his arrival they’ve hit great form with a draw and back-to-back wins.
Anderson says he’s happy to have made the switch, but admits he was left with a wry smile when the draw was made.
“Playing them so soon is going to be weird, obviously, because I spent a year there and still have some good friends there,” he said.
“But it’s just another game for me, and an important one for Billericay because it’s the FA Cup and we want to have a good run.”
Anderson came through the youth ranks at Fulham and then moved onto Lincoln City, where he played under Chris Sutton, and then Steve Tilson .
He admits it was a tough decision to leave Hornchurch, but said he decided to do so because the club had not paid him part of a signing on fee.
He said that, ironically, the issue came to a head just prior to the Urchins’ August Bank Holiday trip to New Lodge.
He explained that he’s training to be a taxi driver, and with money tight he was forced to move on to guarantee an income from playing football.
Anderson said his friendship with Billericay’s former Hornchurch midfielder Dave Collis, and Town’s club captain Rob Swaine, helped him decide on a move to New Lodge.
He said: “I didn’t want to leave Hornchurch but when they didn’t pay that money it made my mind up for me and forced me to leave.
“And at the time I just needed to play and Billericay were the first ones to come in for me. I already knew a few people at the club and that’s why I went there.
“I’ve settled and they’ve a good group here, so I think I’ve made the right move and I’m sure we’re going to have a good season”
Josh Hutchinson scored a hat-trick in Billericay’s midweek friendly win over Histon, and striker Jacek Magdzinski also had his first run out for the club.
Junior Luke and Craig Edwards also played, and all four are pushing for a starting place.
Jay May has been ruled out with a hamstring injury, and injury has also ruled Dave Collis out of facing his former club.
Concord player coach Nicky Cowley admits his side could hardly have been handed a tougher draw in the FA Cup at this stage, but says tomorrow’s home clash with Welling is one in which they have got “nothing to lose”.
Welling are currently third in the Conference South, have only lost once so far this season and come into the game on the back of three straight wins.
“It’s one of the more difficult draws and not really a lucky one for us,” admitted Cowley.
“But as a player it can be a bit of a bonus because we can go into it knowing we have nothing to lose. These sort of ties take the pressure off players.”
Cowley said one bonus is Welling will be without injured striker Luis Cumbers.
He added: “We know they’ve lost a couple of players from last season, but they’ll have 18 good players to choose from, so they’ll be strong.”
Concord midfielder Danny Spendlove is rated as doubtful with a groin problem, but full-back Danny Glozier will be available again after suspension.
Margate were due to travel to Canvey , but Gate’s continued involvement in the FA Cup means the Gulls do not have a game tomorrow.
The Gulls confirmed striker Kirk Hudson had left the club after a short spell at Park Lane.
Canvey’s youth team were in impressive form on Wednesday as they romped to a 4-0 win over Royston Town in the FA Youth Cup. The goals came from Danny Joyce, Aiden O’Connell, Ronnie Winn and Charlie Pardoe. They will host Redbridge in the next round.
East Thurrock manager John Coventry admitted his side had a tough draw away to fellow Ryman Premier side Kingstonian, but said if his side can replicate their performance in the win over Hendon, they have nothing to fear.
“We played Kingstonian in the first game of the season and it was a bizarre game to be honest; we did not learn much about them and I don’t think they learned much about us either,” said Coventry, referring to a 1-1 draw at Rookery Hill in which three players were sent off.
“But they’ve started the season well and they’re at home, so if we can go there and win or even take them back to our place on Tuesday then I’ll be happy.”
Bowers & Pitsea come into the weekend on the back of Monday’s penalty shoot out win over Barkingside in the county cup. Tomorrow they return to league action as they host Eton Manor.
Bowers manager John Doyle said: “That’s three wins in a row now and we seem to have turned the corner.
“The players we’ve brought in have started to gel a bit now and from here on in I think we’ll win more than we lose.”
Barkingside will host another of our local sides tomorrow as John Higley takes his Basildon United side to Oakside.
Great Wakering coach Gary Ansell said the mood in their camp remains good despite three defeats on the spin.
He said: “We’ve had a chat among ourselves and we’ve addressed a few things,” he said.
“To still be in with a chance of going top with one win after losing three league games is not a position I expected.
“And we have some good players here across the squad, so we are not panicking.”
Southend Manor will be aiming to get their first league win of the season when they host Sawbridgeworth Town.
Wednesday’s exit from the county cup following a 3-1 loss at Takeley was their sixth defeat of the season. Manor had taken the lead against Takeley with a 35th minute goal from Wilf Msiska.