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Barking boss Gardner is full of praise for Coggeshall, but expected better title charge

PUBLISHED: 14:00 01 March 2019

Barking attacker Ola Ogunwamide through on goal against Felixstowe (Pic: Terry Gilbert)

Barking attacker Ola Ogunwamide through on goal against Felixstowe (Pic: Terry Gilbert)

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Barking manager Justin Gardner says he expected Coggeshall Town to be more involved in the Bostik North title race ahead of their clash this weekend.

Barking defender Jordan Peart drives into the box against Felixstowe (Pic: Terry Gilbert)Barking defender Jordan Peart drives into the box against Felixstowe (Pic: Terry Gilbert)

The Blues will welcome the Seed Growers to Mayesbrook Park on Saturday as they look to cause an upset and build on their 1-1 draw at Felixstowe & Walton United last weekend.

But Gardner knows it will be a tough test as the Essex-based club have some extremely good players for this level.

“In my opinion I did think Coggeshall would challenge for the title. I know they’re fifth, but with the squad they’ve put together I expected them to be challenging Bowers & Pitsea, Aveley and Heybridge,” he said.

“I suppose they might not be disappointed as it’s their first season, but if you look at their squad, they’re very good.

“One of their players Sam Bantick is on the same amount as my whole budget, so that just puts it into context of what we’re coming up against.

“We’ll expect a tough game and I’m sure they’ll expect the same.

“We’re underdogs and as long as we compete, I’ll be happy.”

The 38-year-old is keen for his side to keep climbing up the table – despite being wedged in a mid-table battle.

He added: “At the end of day, we’re punching above our weight, and in terms of the supporters, the committee and the chairman we’re doing a great job.

“Inside the changing room, we’re slightly disappointed because we feel the ability is there to do a bit better. Maybe the lack of a top seasoned, up-to-speed striker has been our problem.

“What I mean by that is we do have some really good strikers, but no disrespect they’re probably with us because their match fitness isn’t great at the minute.

“Sahr Kabba and Nana are both National League players and have played that level for most of their careers. I’ve only managed to get them through a lack of game time.

“Everyone knows if we had a Sam Bantick, Ross Wall or Lewis Manor then I’m pretty confident as our defence proves it that we would be in the play-offs.

“We have the third best defence in the league.”

But the boss is backing Kabba and Nana Boakye-Yiadom to start firing.

“Hopefully Sahr, Nana and the rest of strikers have a strong end to the season and help fire us up the league,” he added.

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