Rowe returns ahead of tricky FA Cup clash

Zac Attwood on the ball for Hastings United against Folkestone Invicta. Picture courtesy Joe Knight (SUS-150827-084817002)
Zac Attwood on the ball for Hastings United against Folkestone Invicta. Picture courtesy Joe Knight (SUS-150827-084817002)
  • Hastings United visit Cray Valley (PM) in FA Cup this afternoon
  • Rowe back from Thailand and could feature
  • Pelling dislocated finger against Folkestone in midweek
  • Cray Valley play one level below United
  • Home tie in next round at stake for the winners
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Ollie Rowe is back at Hastings United as the club bids to avoid being on the receiving end of an FA Cup upset.

The defender, who spent the second half of the 2010/11 season at The Pilot Field, has returned to the country following a spell teaching and coaching in Thailand.

Rowe was due to train with United on Thursday night and could well feature in the preliminary round tie away to Cray Valley Paper Mills - who play their football one level further down the non-league pyramid - this afternoon.

U’s manager Garry Wilson said: “He’s a fit lad and I think we need to be looking to get him in. We’ve leaked too many goals obviously and we will look at that.

“The FA Cup is a competition every club wants to do well in. It’s a big game for us and no doubt Cray Valley will be looking at it the same way.”

Cray Valley have picked up three points from their opening three Southern Counties East League Premier Division matches, but pulled off an excellent 5-1 win over Ashford United in the previous round.

“They had a fantastic result against Ashford and for the level they’re playing at they’ve got some decent players,” continued Wilson. “We’ve had them watched and we know quite a lot about them.

“It won’t be an easy game, but it’s a winnable game and we need to put Tuesday night (when United lost 4-1 at home to Folkestone Invicta in the league) behind us rather quickly.”

Josh Pelling dislocated his finger against Folkestone and went to hospital after the game, while Stephen Okoh may return having failed a fitness test before Tuesday’s match.

Should United come through unscathed, their reward will be a home tie against Thatcham Town or Guildford City in first round qualifying on Saturday September 12.

Assuming the match doesn’t end in a draw and go to a replay, United will return to league action on Bank Holiday Monday with a trip to Walton Casuals.

The Folkestone defeat has seen United drop from third to eighth in the early Ryman League Division One South table having won three and lost two of their first five fixtures.

TODAY’S FOOTBALL FIXTURES

(Kick-off 3pm)

FA Cup preliminary round: Bexhill Utd v Faversham Town (at Faversham); Cray Valley (PM) v Hastings Utd.

Macron Store Southern Combination League, Division 1: Sidlesham v Little Common.

Division 2: Westfield v Bosham.

Reserve Section (East): Storrington v Westfield.

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