We’re ready to give our Wembley dreams a boost, declares Bitton leader Langdon.
BITTON remain out on their own in the area as they bid to advance ever closer to a dream Wembley appearance in May, writes Simon Parkinson.
Dan Langdon’s team, who by his own admission have been left disappointed by their inability to keep pace with the Toolstation Premier Division promotion chasers this term following a promising last season, are far from out of the reckoning when it comes to their cup quests.
And it really is all about knock-out tournament fare over the next few days with a big FA Vase fifth round date at home with non-League step 5 equivalents Sutton Common Rovers, positioned mid-table in the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League Premier Division, first opposition up at Bitton’s WDS Services Stadium this Saturday, February 8 (3pm) where a place in the quarter-finals presents itself.
That same Bath Road venue, which is soon to undergo a “major ground redevelopment” according to first team boss Langdon, is then set to play host to a GFA Challenge Trophy last-eight affair on Tuesday night, February 11 (7.30pm) as Marcliff Gloucestershire County League title hopefuls Wick arrive aiming to upset the applecart.
For now it’s all about securing a berth in the quarter-finals of an FA Vase journey which began for Bitton on October 15 with a 6-1 mauling of visiting Hampshire outfit Tadley Calleva at the first round proper hurdle and continued with a 4-0 home victory over Gloucestershire compatriots Fairford Town, a hard-fought 2-1 success at the expense of Toolstation Prem rivals Cribbs and a 3-1 home win over more Western League Vase hopefuls in Division One team Warminster Town, who had shocked Roman Glass St George 2-1 on Saints’ Oaklands Park 3G patch at the previous stage.
Bitton’s splendid run to the last 16 has banked them £4,725 in FA prize money, a figure that would be boosted by a further £2,250 with victory over London-based counterparts Sutton Common, who ground share with well-known National League club Sutton United at their impressive 5,000-plus capacity Knights Community Stadium facility which boasts an artificial pitch to boot.
Leader Langdon, who is without suspended central midfielder Ashley Williams, unavailable left-back Matt Tanner and cup-tied forward Oaklan Buck, pointed out: “The club has reached this stage three times but never the quarter-finals.
“There’s much work to be done but with home advantage it’s a wonderful chance to reach the last eight of this famous national competition.
“Everyone is buzzing and I feel that we’re well prepared for the game on and off the pitch. And I’m backing our lads to pull us through this one.
“Hopefully we’ll get a big crowd which I’m expecting to be bolstered by a good turn-out from our junior section.
“At least we come into it in good shape wins-wise of late and we’re scoring goals from all over the park.”