Barking ready for ‘biggest’ week with two tough tests

Barking manager Mick O'Shea (pic: Terry Gilbert)

Barking manager Mick O'Shea (pic: Terry Gilbert) - Credit: Archant

Blues travel to FC Romania tonight before trip to Bowers on Saturday

The season may still be less than two months old, but Barking face two fixtures this week that could go a long way to shaping their title challenge.

The Blues visit FC Romania tonight (Wednesday) before a crucial clash away to last season’s Essex Senior League runners-up Bowers & Pitsea.

Mick O’Shea’s men have already suffered disappointment once this season against the Wolves, who knocked Barking out of the Essex Senior League Cup on penalties.

Romania head into the game at Theobalds Lane on the back of two successive wins, including a 7-1 victory over Tower Hamlets, but O’Shea is bullish about the Blues’ chances.

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“They bashed Tower Hamlets recently, but they are a bit up and down. You never know how they are going to play,” said O’Shea.

“Hopefully Billy Rix will be back and we’ll check on the fitness of Kieran English. I think we’ll start to have more of a settled team now.

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“But if any player is not looking close to full fitness, we’ll rest them for Saturday’s trip to Bowers.”

The weekend’s game at the Len Salmon Stadium could prove pivotal in Barking’s quest for the Essex Senior League crown this season.

O’Shea’s team are currently nine points adrift of Bowers, who currently top the standings and are unbeaten after seven games.

Saturday’s match is expected to be a close encounter between the sides who finished second and third behind champions Haringey Borough last season, but O’Shea know his team is up for the fight.

“We’ll go to Bowers and give a good account of ourselves. We seem to raise our game for teams at the top, but we struggle to get motivated against sides at the bottom,” he added.

“We’ll use their unbeaten record as motivation if any is needed. Barking tend to do well in the big matches and it’s one we’re looking forward to.

“Hopefully this time next week we’ve closed the gap to Bowers and aren’t sitting any further adrift than we currently are.

“We have a few interested in joining the team and hopefully any new additions can get us back on the winning trail.”

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