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Barking manager Gardner hoping home advantage can be crucial against Margate

PUBLISHED: 10:00 25 October 2019

Michael Dixon on the ball for Barking (pic Terry Gilbert)

Michael Dixon on the ball for Barking (pic Terry Gilbert)

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Barking manager Justin Gardner feels being at home could work in their favour as they take on Margate in the FA Trophy.

Johnny Ashman tries to beat his man (pic Terry Gilbert)Johnny Ashman tries to beat his man (pic Terry Gilbert)

The Blues will welcome Jay Saunders' men to Mayesbrook Park on Saturday for a first qualifying round tie.

Boss Gardner knows they are major underdogs but is hoping that tag can be an advantage to his squad.

"We need to bounce back very quickly as we're playing a team from a higher level, who are going to be full of quality all over the pitch," Gardner said.

"Whether you want to see it as a positive or not, everyone expects us to lose the game, and we go into it as underdogs.

"We're at home which I think will help us as the pitch on Saturday didn't suit us if I'm honest with you. "We've got quite a good record at home so hopefully we can continue that."

The winner of the tie will walk away with £2,450 in prize money while the losers will still bag £800.

But the former Billericay Town manager insists Blues will not be thinking about the money, despite knowing how important it could be to the club's finances.

"There is a lot of money at stake, it's well-known that it would help the club, but we're going to concentrate on the game and try causing an upset," he said.

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"Margate will come into the game knowing they're expected to win so hopefully that will play into our hands."

Barking may be without a few players due to injury but Gardner didn't want to give anything away ahead of the match.

"One may be back, but one of our key players may be out for a few weeks now, and we picked up another injury Saturday," he said.

"I may have to call up a couple of under-23 players."

Barking head into the clash on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Chalfont St Peter in the Isthmian League.

Opponents Margate also lost 2-1 to National League South outfit Oxford City in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup at the weekend.

They boast a team with the likes of former Dover Athletic attacker Kadell Daniel and former Millwall youngster Noel Leighton, among many others.

They currently sit 13th in the Isthmian Premier League table after 10 matches after a mixed start to the campaign.

Barking players will be sporting pink showing the clubs support against breast cancer.

The club is also inviting charities to come and collect donations.

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