Common relishing ‘good test’ in cup derby

Wes Tate on the ball during Little Common's last outing, against Wick, 10 days ago.
Wes Tate on the ball during Little Common's last outing, against Wick, 10 days ago.

Little Common Football Club is looking forward to an eye-catching cup derby in front of what should be a sizeable crowd.

The Commoners will host Eastbourne Town in a Macron Store Southern Combination League Peter Bentley Challenge Cup third round tie tonight (Tuesday). Kick-off is 7.45pm.

“It will be a good test,” said Common player-manager Russell Eldridge, who watched Eastbourne draw 1-1 with Haywards Heath Town a fortnight ago. “They’ve got some good players, good attacking players, good pace out wide and some experienced players.”

Managed by former Sidley United boss John Lambert, Eastbourne are fifth in the Premier Division and only three points outside the top two.

They will give Division One leaders Common, who have already clinched promotion, a taste of what they can expect to come up against when they step up a level next season.

“We want to test ourselves against better players, better teams and it’s a free hit as such because the pressure will be on them,” continued Eldridge.

“I’m sure it’s a game they realise will be tough as well. We’ve always tended to give a good account of ourselves against teams from a higher league over the last couple of years.

“We’ll want to show we’re worthy of mixing it as such with those sort of teams, and hopefully we can give a good account of ourselves and come away with a positive result.”

Eastbourne are invariably cheered on by a large and vocal band of supporters who call themselves Pier Pressure.

“The Pier Pressure boys were fantastic at that Haywards Heath game, they made noise the whole game,” added Eldridge.

“It’s incredible support they show their team on a game to game basis. That will hopefully make for a good atmosphere and hopefully there will be a few people in.”

The match is taking place nearly seven months after both clubs played their second round ties. Eastbourne actually lost to AFC Uckfield Town in round two, but were reinstated after Uckfield were found to have fielded an ineligible player and unsuccessfully appealed to the FA.

The winners will travel to Horsham YMCA in the quarter-finals next Tuesday.

Common will be without full-back Ryan Paul, who is cup-tied having played for Eastbourne United AFC in the same competition earlier this season.

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