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Gardner aims for a cup run

PUBLISHED: 10:14 13 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 05 October 2010

BETHNAL GREEN UNITED manager Justin Gardner can mount a serious challenge in the Cherry Red Records Trophy this season despite suffering a series of setbacks in the competition in previous years. United, who begin their bid for silverware with a home clas

BETHNAL GREEN UNITED manager Justin Gardner can mount a serious challenge in the Cherry Red Records Trophy this season despite suffering a series of setbacks in the competition in previous years.

United, who begin their bid for silverware with a home clash against Mill End Sports this weekend, have failed to progress beyond the third round stage for more than a decade.

But Gardner believes his current squad is capable of reaching the latter stages of this year's tournament following a series of stellar displays during the past month.

He said: "I haven't had a lot of luck in this competition over the years, as a player or a manager, but if we play to our strengths, I think we've got a good chance of going a long way this year.

"It's a tough cup to win because every club that enters takes it very seriously and it covers the whole of London, so you don't know much about the teams you're up against, especially in the early rounds.

"But it's a good test for us to see how we adapt. Most teams we play in the league, I've either watched them or I've been given a report about them, but this time it's just a case of playing our strongest team and if we can play as well as we have in the league recently, we'll be a match for anyone."

United were unable to improve on their record of eight straight wins in all competitions last weekend after the scheduled match at Harrow Kodak was postponed by heavy rain.

But Gardner believes the week off will refresh his team ahead of Saturday's knockout contest at Mile End Stadium.

"It was disappointing because we wanted to keep our winning run going and at the moment we can't wait for every game," Gardner said of the postponement.

"But the week off has given a couple of players a bit of extra time to get over injuries.

"[Leading scorer] Danny Sabroche broke his nose in training last week and Alfred Kamara suffered a knock to his shoulder, but they were both hoping to play at Harrow last weekend.

"They're two of our key players and the week off will give them time to recover fully, so it's been useful in a way and we'll have a stronger squad this week."

Midfielder Leon Ryan will also boost Gardner's options after

completing his suspension this week.

Bethnal Green United entertain Mill End Sports at Mile End Stadium on Saturday (1.30pm). See www.bethnalgreenunitedfc.co.uk for details.

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