Barking FC set for big week in the Cup

Barking FC Justin Gardner

Barking FC manager Justin Gardner is excited for the club's next game tomorrow night (April 20), which will see the coach face Hackney Wick for the first time. - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

A busy period awaits Barking FC as the team faces two cup games in less than a week. 

With the Blues only recently returning to action after five months away, manager Justin Gardner is keen to build on a positive comeback with another accomplished outing against Hackney Wick tomorrow night (Tuesday, April 20).

Gardner recently told the Post he intends to use the Len Cordell Memorial Cup as a chance to test out a new system and blood youngsters, with a recent 1-1 draw against Frenford FC the first opportunity to do so. 

Ahead of tomorrow night's game, he said: "It's a competitive game, it'll be a tough game, but it's good we're at home. They'll come to us and try to upset the so-called 'big dogs', but we're using a young squad in these games."

The team prepared for the challenge with a 5-1 friendly win against Sporting Bengal on Saturday (April 17).

Between this and a decent display against Frenford, the manager is pleased with preparations so far: "I expect us to lose a few games over the next couple of months, but I'm thinking about the big picture. 

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"There are a couple of players who only came into the team for these games, but they've made a good impression so will be part of my squad for the coming season."

Gardner estimates that around ten - from 20 - squad members returned for this set of games, with the remainder due to come back in time for the start of the new season in August.

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This gives players who may not ordinarily feature in the the first-team picture a chance to stake a real claim, something which motivates a manager who strives to promote youth. 

There's little time for Gardner to rest on his laurels after Hackney Wick come to town, as he sets about preparing his charges for another home game on Friday (April 23) against West Essex FC.

Despite the quick turnaround, he isn't complaining, particularly after a period of complete drought: "We're just chuffed to bits to have some football again."

This Group D game is a 7.45pm kick-off at Mayesbrook Park, with the West Essex FC fixture scheduled for the same time and venue three days later.

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