Essex Senior League: Tower Hamlets joint-manager Ajay Ashanike pleased to have extra FA Cup preparation time

PUBLISHED: 14:00 15 August 2017

Tower Hamlets joint-manager Ajay Ashanike (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).

Tower Hamlets joint-manager Ajay Ashanike (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

The Mile End Stadium club haven't played in over a week, but it has allowed them to focus on upcoming cup tie

Ajay Ashanike has made the most of the fact Tower Hamlets have been without a game in recent days, but lauded the spirit at the Essex Senior League club.

The Mile End Stadium outfit were without a match on Saturday and Monday’s clash with Waltham Forest was postponed.

Ashanike and Ade Abayomi gave the Hamlets squad time to relax at the weekend, but they all decided they wanted to train instead.

He said: “Saturday was meant to be a day off for the team, but all of the boys asked if they could come in for training, so that was good.

“Last time I was here we had a good team spirit and we managed to finish fourth and the atmosphere this time is similar.

“We have all been surprised by how quickly the team has gelled and it is amazing to see the players all keen to train when you give them a day off.”

After seeing Monday’s fixture with Forest postponed due to their FA Cup replay with FC Romania, Hamlets were able to spend more time preparing for their game in the competition.

They entertain division rivals Takeley on Saturday looking to make it through to the first qualifying round of the tournament.

Ashanike added: “The boys were looking forward to playing Waltham Forest, but I was really happy to get another training session in.

“With the FA Cup game coming up we have plenty to work on, so the postponement actually helped us out.”

The former Aveley and Ilford defender also took advantage of the fact Hamlets were without a fixture on Saturday.

After doing a training session with the Hamlets squad, Ashanike went and scouted Takeley against Redbridge.

He said: “They are a really strong side. They have a lot of players with experience and their management team is very good as well, but Ade and I are confident.

“We have been working with our squad on the training ground and believe if they follow our instructions then we can get a result.”

Although Hamlets have only played four games this season, they appear to have made big strides during the summer.

The east London outfit have lost once and conceded on only four occasions so far, which is a vast improvement compared to some of their defending in the 2016/17 campaign.

“We appear to have gelled really quickly and to have only lost one of our first four games is decent,” said Ashanike.

“I would have taken that before the start of the campaign. Another thing is we haven’t conceded too many goals, which is a big improvement on last season.

“We have a fairly settled defence at the moment and one of the best goalkeepers (Lee McKnight) in the league, so Ade and I are very happy.”

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