Barking boss Gardner looking forward to returning to Aveley
PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 November 2017
Barking manager Justin Gardner is looking forward to returning to his old roots as they face his former club Aveley this evening.
The Blues travel away to Parkside (7.45pm) as they look to extend their unbeaten run to seven games in the Bostik North.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Gardner said.
“It’s a club that has a special place in my heart, as it was five years of my life and during that time I got married, but as always it doesn’t matter who I’m playing it could be my wife or mother and I’d still want to win.
“I’ll go there shake hands with people, say hello, but once that whistle goes it’s all about getting three points.”
It will be Barking’s fourth match in nine days and Gardner admits that will give James Webster’s men the upper hand.
“It will be our fourth game in nine days, so freshness is quite a concern for me right now,” he said.
“I think it’s quite unfair how they’ve had a weekend off and yet we have a really small squad but we have a real hectic fixture list.
“They’ve brought in seven players from Brighlingsea Regent of late so we’ll be basically playing a Bostik Prem club and they’ve had a week to prepare for it.
“The advantage is clearly going to be with them and we go into it as complete underdogs and will want to go there and cause an upset.”
Recent signing Emmanuel Olajide is set to start in goal again for the match while his former Clapton team-mate Ryan Reed has also joined and could go into the line-up tonight.
“The Ryan Reed situation was because I’m good friend with Jonny Fowell and to be honest it was my old assistant manager who let me know about him,” Gardner said.
“I just said to Jon when you think he is ready, push him up to me.
“When Andre Thomas joined I asked him how he was progressing and he said he was doing really well.
“I then asked Jon if he could train with us so we see how he got on with the team, so he was training with us and playing for Clapton for a few weeks.
“It was a good transition for a young player who has huge ability.”
Gardner’s men go into the clash on the back of 4-0 victory against Cheshunt.