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Sporting Bengal United 'frustrated' with Essex Senior League wait, but enjoying FA Cup run

PUBLISHED: 16:00 16 August 2016

Sporting Bengal United manager Imrul Gazi talks to a player during pre-season. Pic: Alam Zaman.

Sporting Bengal United manager Imrul Gazi talks to a player during pre-season. Pic: Alam Zaman.

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Imrul Gazi reflects on weekend without football, Clapton clash and league opener at Basildon United on August 27

Sporting Bengal United are one of only two clubs in the Essex Senior League still to officially start their league campaign.

The east Londoners and FC Romania haven’t played in the division yet while the likes of Takeley, Barkingside, Hullbridge Sports and Redbridge have already got through four fixtures.

Imrul Gazi, manager of the Mile End Stadium club, admits it has been frustrating, but can’t wait to take charge of his first match in the league.

Bengal have enjoyed FA Cup success this year, winning 2-0 at Ipswich Wanderers last Tuesday, but are looking forward to playing for points at Basildon United on August 27.

“Saturday gave me some time to get away with the family. I was going to watch Barkingside against Barking,” said Gazi.

“I decided I’m not going to get many weekend’s off so spent it with the kids and it was good fun.

“We get back to training tonight and have another session on Thursday before playing Clapton in the FA Cup, but all the lads are really looking forward to kicking off the league campaign at Basildon the week after.

“Everyone has played two or three games already and we’ve still only had FA Cup matches so it has been a little bit frustrating.”

While Bengal have to wait a while to kick-start their league season, they have played twice already this season.

They were held to a goalless draw by Ipswich Wanderers in the extra-preliminary round of the FA Cup on August 7 at Wadham Lodge’s Stadium.

But they pulled off an excellent result in the replay in Suffolk, winning 2-0, to set up a clash with Clapton back at their Mile End home, which is now open to football again after hosting athletics during the summer.

Gazi can’t wait to entertain their league rivals on Saturday, adding: “They beat us 6-1 last year, which was our worst defeat of the season, but when I watched them against London Bari they looked very different.

“I only recognised two players that were involved at Clapton. Pape Diagne, their goalkeeper, is known within non-league football and I’ve been told played for Sporting.

“I’m not sure if that is 100 per cent true, but he is really highly respected by us as a football club.

“With the squad Clapton have, I can really see them challenging for the league this year alongside the likes of Barkingside and Ilford.”

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