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Hamlets and Bengal ready for tough games before Monday's derby date

PUBLISHED: 14:00 26 October 2018

A Tower Hamlets player fakes to take a shot and tricks a West Essex opponent (pic: Tim Edwards).

A Tower Hamlets player fakes to take a shot and tricks a West Essex opponent (pic: Tim Edwards).

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AJ Ashanike's men host Hoddesdon Town on Saturday while Imrul Gazi's Bengal travel to Walthamstow

A Tower Hamlets player scores against West Essex (pic: Tim Edwards).A Tower Hamlets player scores against West Essex (pic: Tim Edwards).

Tower Hamlets face a hectic weekend with two home fixtures against Hoddesdon Town and local rivals Sporting Bengal United coming up in the Essex Senior League.

AJ Ashanike’s side will welcome the Lilywhites to the Mile End Stadium on Saturday before hosting a derby encounter on Monday evening.

Although they will be without their player-manager, who is away, coaches Joe Biscoe and Francesco Zabotti will take charge for the weekend.

“The next two games are going to be big tests, I’m not actually there, I’m away, but I’ve left the team with Joe Biscoe,” Ashanike said.

“Joe will do a good job I’m sure. They’re tough matches, but if we can come away with four points from those two games I’ll be more than delighted.”

The boss revealed no one’s place in the starting XI is safe as they currently sit second from bottom in the table after a miserable start to the campaign.

Ashanike added: “From now on everyone is going to be fighting for their shirts and the winning team will stay on until they get beat.

“The kids will get another game on Saturday after impressing against West Essex to see how they get on and hopefully they will have another chance on Monday.”

Hamlets player-manager did have plenty of praise for Imrul Gazi’s Bengal, who Hamlets groundshare with, ahead of the derby.

“Bengal are doing really well this year, they’ve kept their squad for the last few years, and it’s probably just about time for them to show how good the boys are in that team,” he said.

“It’s a rivalry game, a big derby, and some of the boys know exactly what it means, but I think it will be a really good game. I think it might be the best derby game in the last five years.”

Although the local clash is a big occasion, the boss is more concerned about pulling away from the foot on the table in the coming weeks.

He added: “I looked at the league and if we can get a good run of four or five games together then I think we should get out of trouble. The boys we’ve got in right now are more than positive about getting out of trouble.”

Hamlets did turn their fortunes round last weekend as they earned a 2-2 draw against mid-table West Essex.

Before Monday’s derby, Bengal will travel to high-flying Walthamstow this weekend and their manager was full of praise for Ryan Maxwell’s team.

“We are on a great run of form in October which has seen us score 23 goals in our last six games - winning five with one draw,” Gazi said.

“The break over the last eight days was much-needed for everyone at the club, but we now go into another two games; the first of which will see us up against neighbours Walthamstow on Saturday.

“For me, Walthamstow are easily the best team, along with Stansted, we have played this season. We lost 4-1 to them in the Gordon Brasted Memorial Trophy earlier in the season and they were a very well organised team with a lot of experience on and off the pitch.

“We are no doubt big underdogs going into this game, but that’s what we are used to and the pressure is on Walthamstow to get the win!

“They look like they will be serious contenders for the league this season and so we will need to be at the top of our game if we expect to take anything from the game.”

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