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Sporting boss Gazi expecting another competitive Essex Senior League season

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 August 2018

A Sporting Bengal United player looks to keep the ball in the corner against Ilford (pic: Tim Edwards).

A Sporting Bengal United player looks to keep the ball in the corner against Ilford (pic: Tim Edwards).

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A piece from our Kick-Off pullout, where Sporting Bengal United boss Imrul Gazi looks ahead to the new campaign

Sporting Bengal United boss Imrul Gazi feels there will be little to separate the clubs in the Essex Senior League this term.

The east Londoners enjoyed a superb 2017/18 campaign as they finished 10th on 50 points which was a club record total.

Gazi knows it will be tough to be even better given some of the quality in the division, but believes when he has his best team available, they can be a match for anyone.

“I would imagine the top 10 and the bottom half will not be separated by much and I am looking forward to it,” said the Bengal manager.

“For me, we need to start well and if we do, I think we stand a good chance of having a good season.

“But I say it every year, if I can put out the closest thing to my best starting XI, so even 80 or 90 per cent, then I am always confident we can give most teams in this league a run for their money.

“I think we are looking for a similar season to last year and if we can start the way we finished that would be fantastic because I want us to be competing in every game we play.”

Bengal’s form during the final month of the last season gives Gazi confidence going into this term.

The Mile End Stadium club won four of their final five games with the only fixture they failed to win being a goalless draw with Basildon United, who earned promotion to Bostik North.

Although the Essex Senior League has lost the Bees, FC Romania as well as Great Wakering Rovers, Gazi doesn’t believe it guarantees the quality of the division will be lower.

He added: “I’m not sure if I would say the league will be weaker because ultimately players will drop back down to this division from the clubs which went up.

“Some players just prefer to play in the ESL and don’t want to chance their arm in the league above and some are not good enough, so remain at this level.

“Also, there were some good teams anyway who didn’t get promoted. Redbridge will be strong again this season, West Essex are improving and yes they are a relatively new club, but they are always getting better.

“Clapton always start well and Sawbridgeworth Town are another good team and one I have a lot of time for, so I think they will do well.

“Takeley are another and probably the one to watch, so if anything I think the gap will close between all the teams and it will be another tight season.”

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