Tooting & Mitcham United joint-manager Ashley Bosah admitted tomorrow’s FA Cup tie at Woking is a ‘great opportunity’ for his young players to challenge good opposition and cause an upset.
Tooting, who play in the Isthmian South division, travel to a Woking side who are two divisions above them and are the highest ranked team left in the second qualifying round.
The Terrors, who were relegated from the Isthmian Premier League last season, are lying in 15th place after a slow start to the season, with four points from five games.
However, the FA Cup has been a welcome distraction from league duties for Tooting, who have beaten Horley Town and Horsham YMCA so far to reach this stage.
Bosah, who was appointed joint-manager alongside Cornelius Nwadialor in the summer, emphasised how good an opportunity it was for his side to test themselves against strong opposition.
“I want to get a strong performance and create chances on the day,” he said.
“Cup progress would be a bonus, but it’s an opportunity to take momentum into the league.
“The overall project is very exciting. The talent here is very good, and I take a real interest in developing a player to the next level.”
Bosah, who has been affiliated with the club for more than eight years via the youth system, also praised his senior players and staff for the work they have done on and off the pitch.
“The senior players have been guiding the youth players, which is great,” he added.
“Cornelius and I have similar ways of thinking on the pitch, and Jordan Garson who is working with the U23s and U18s notices our blind spots, so we all work really well together.”
Elsewhere in the Cup, Hampton & Richmond Borough are at home to Burgess Hill, who play a division below in the Isthmian Premier.
Hampton are on a five-match winning streak and lie in third place after ten games in National League South.
Gary McCann’s men will be firm favourites, against a Burgess Hill team whose only win so far this season was in the first qualifying round, against Folkestone Invicta 1-0.
“We won’t be taking Burgess Hill lightly”, said McCann.
“I have a lot of respect for their manager Ian Chapman, and it is important we start well and get the first goal, as Burgess are difficult to break down.
“The balance of our squad is very good, we have experienced, hungry and enthusiastic players, and there won’t be any complacency in the dressing room tomorrow.”
Despite McCann appreciating the Cup could be a distraction for his team, whose main priority is promotion to the National League, he understands the potential rewards that could come with a successful run.
“It’s a real opportunity for the spotlight to fall on the changing room,” he said.
“The prize money has doubled this year to a substantial amount, so we’re taking it seriously and want to reach the big games in the first round.
“The club is very ambitious and so am I.”
Both matches kick off tomorrow, Saturday 22nd September, at 15:00.