Team Solent manager James Taylor is in positive spirits ahead of his side’s trip to Bradford Town in the Buildbase FA Vase.
Following an impressive 2-0 victory over Tavistock AFC in the previous round, Team Solent face a trip to their Northern opponents on Saturday.
Despite having no prior meetings with Bradford, Taylor predicts a tough contest will be awaiting the students.
“I’m expecting a big, strong side who will play pretty direct I would imagine, and we’ll have to win the battles before we can get the ball down and play.
“This is a chance to get another step in the Vase and I’m sure the lads will be well up for the game, but they’re a good side so we’ll have to be at our best.”
The Toolstation Western Premier Division opponents lie in 3rd place in their league and defeated Buckland Athletic 2-1 to set up the third qualifying round of this years’ competition.
Taylor can give his orders but ultimately it’s the players who can put Solent through to the next round. (Credit – Tom Mulholland)
The Sparks’ manager believes his side has what it takes to bring another cup victory back to Hampshire with them, however.
“The most important thing for us is that we get it down and we play and pass it with pace and yeah we’ve got every chance.”
Solent will be bolstered by the return of potent striker Hisham Kasimu, whose 12 goals in ten games have been the catalyst for the sudden upturn in fortunes at Test Park.
The pacey striker was forced out of the last two matches after losing his contact lenses in a collision against Horndean on November 18th.
Kasimu missed the dreadful 0-4 defeat against Newport (IOW) and the 1-1 draw with reigning champions Portland United, which put an end to Solent’s remarkable recent run – winning 7 of their previous 8 games.
Taylor reflected on the latest results after his side ran out 5-3 winners in an 80-minute, inter-squad friendly against Solent BUCS on Monday night;
“On Saturday I think against Portland I was quite pleased with the way we played, on Monday night we were horrendous against Newport there’s no getting away from that, but up until then we’ve been playing really well.”
Solent got to the last-16 of the competition last year, but we defeated by eventual winners South Shields. (Credit – Kirsty Bradbury)
That 5-3 victory, which took place at Monday night’s training session, also saw returns from slight injuries for danger men Julian Stahler and Silvano Obeng, with both players getting themselves on the scoresheet.
Tyrell Mitford also bagged a brace in a win that proved a satisfying test in Taylor’s eyes,
“Obviously playing football and having a game like that is far superior than training half the time,” he said.
“I think the lads got something out of it, I didn’t think we played very well at times but we did score 5 goals so that’s something.
“I’m pleased enough and the lads put in a bit of effort.”
It served as a decent warm-up in the lead up to Saturday’s cup tie, with a place in the Round of 16 up for grabs for The Sparks.