Tooting the ‘best team’ we’ve faced this season says Barking manager

PUBLISHED: 10:00 21 February 2020

Jordan Peart on the ball (pic Terry Gilbert)

Jordan Peart on the ball (pic Terry Gilbert)


Barking manager Justin Gardner says Tooting & Mitcham United are the best team they have faced in the league this season ahead of their return clash this weekend.

The Blues welcome The Terrors to Mayesbrook Park on Saturday after last weekend's trip to Uxbridge was postponed.

The south London outfit currently sit just outside the Isthmian League South Central play-off places, much like Gardner's men.

"We've played them twice already, once away in the league and once in the London Senior Cup away and they've both been one goal games - 2-1 and 1-0," Gardner said.

"They've been very close games and they're probably one of the best teams we've played this season.

"For me they're the most complete team we've played so we know it's going to be a very difficult game for us but one we want to try and get something from as we've run them close twice.

"They're a very good team and their away record seems to be better than their home at the moment so they'll be looking forward to it."

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Tooting striker Danny Bassett has scored 14 times in the league already this season and should be playing at a higher level according to Gardner, who knows Barking will have to be wary of him.

"For me he's a player that could probably play two leagues higher, he's a very good player," he added.

"I'm not sure if he's contracted but I'm quite surprised he's still at this level and someone at a higher level hasn't taken a punt on him.

"He's very dangerous and someone we will need to keep a close eye on, but it's not just him, as they play a 3-4-3 which is very attacking, and defensively they're still strong and they have a good goalkeeper."

Barking ended up playing out a 2-2 draw with National League South outfit Billericay Town in a friendly on Saturday.

Gardner said: "We wanted the league fixture to go ahead, now we have to travel up there on a Tuesday, which is going to be a nightmare journey.

"That's football, the weather was quite bad, a lot of games were off, the pleasing thing was within five to 10 minutes I had a pitch booked and an opposition.

"It wasn't too bad, in actual fact we probably got more out of that than training as Billericay's fitness levels are better than ours, so it was a good run out for the boys."

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