BRYAN O’TOOLE insists his and Shaun Saunders’ young Peacehaven team can confound the naysayers and beat the mighty Brighton and Hove Albion this week.
The Tye take on the Seagulls’ reserve team in the third round of the Sussex Senior Cup at their Piddinghoe Avenue venue on Wednesday evening (kick off 7.30pm). And assistant boss O’Toole said that – despite doom-mongers around the town saying the county league outfit didn’t have a chance against their glamorous counterparts – the high-flying Division One outfit could pull off a famous win over the Albion.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said O’Toole. “There have been quite a few negative people saying we haven’t got a chance against them, but I think it’s well winnable. Depending on the team they put out I think we’ve got a great chance of getting a result.
“I’m expecting a competitive game, 100 per cent,” he added. We take it one game at a time, and every game we go into we go into attacking 100 per cent.”
The Albion clash is just the first of two massive cup ties for manager Saunders’ men this week, with the Sports Park side also taking on United Combined League Premier Division outfit St Ives at home in the FA Vase on Saturday.
And ahead of their big week, Peacehaven boss Saunders took the decision to rest a number of players in their 2-1 win over SCFL Division One basement side Chichester on Saturday.
The Tye boss left out goalkeeper Jake Buss, plus outfield players Carl Dunk, Aaron Gunn and Ashley Rees, from the line-up, and the gamble worked, with goals from Ryan Bradley and Rob O’Toole securing all three points.
But O’Toole insisted the resting of players wasn’t as much of an issue as had been reported, saying: “We’ve got quite a big squad, and we’ve been trying to keep a balance (of who to play) all season.
“When Shaun came to the club the first team squad wasn’t all that big but he’s been trying everything he can to remedy that, and we’re starting to get a good group of players together now.
“It’s a case of keeping everyone fresh when you’ve got a group of players like we have.
“And it’s not like we brought in players who couldn’t do a job; the players who played (on Saturday) are still bloody good players. They’re still going to be a good XI. Josh Heyburn is a hell of a good keeper for instance, and he’s only 19.
“And although we’ve got a very young squad, with played in their 20s or younger, there are a lot of experienced players for their age amongst them.”
Peacehaven have got history of claiming big scalps in the Sussex Senior Cup, knocking Neville Southall’s Hastings United out of the competition two seasons ago.
And good crowd is expected for the Brighton tie, with Tye chairman Jim Edwards saying: “We have sold quite a few tickets and a lot of people are asking about it.
“There could be 1,500 there for it for all I know.
“Their (Brighton’s) last tie in the Sussex Senior Cup was away to Loxwood, where they had about 300 through the gate. And we’re a fair bit more central than Loxwood so there could be a bit more of a crowd.
“It all depends on the weather. But it should be dry and more tickets are available or people can pay at the gate.”
Mr Edwards said the board took the decision to keep the admission fee to the same as regular county league games, at just £5 (£2 for OAPs and £1 for children), because the club wanted to put the townspeople first ahead of any thoughts of one-off monetary gain.
“We’ve kept it the same. We had discussions about it and we decided to keep it the same. It was the local community we were thinking of. Things are a little hard for people nowadays and we know what it’s like. We could have put an extra four pounds on the price but we decided not to.”
Chairman Mr Edwards confirmed: “It will be a very interesting week. Obviously it brings good help to us financially. We don’t get big crowds at league matches nowadays, especially with the big (Brighton & Hove Albion) stadium not too far away. That’s affected local football a tremendous amount; not just our own club but other local football clubs.”
See the coastal edition of this Friday’s Sussex Express for a full preview of that FA Vase match.