FA Cup: A view from the Surrey Mirror

Bird confident Merstham can clip Whitehawk wings

MANAGER Hayden Bird is looking forward to facing off against his old adversary Steve King when Merstham play Whitehawk in the FA Cup, and is confident it will be a “tight” encounter.

The Moatsiders earned their spot in the second round qualifying, and an away fixture at Whitehawk, after beating local rivals Chipstead 4-3 after extra-time in Tuesday night’s replay, after the Surrey teams drew 2-2 on Saturday.

Merstham will now travel to the Enclosed Ground on September 27, and Bird believes his side, who are two leagues below Conference South Whitehawk, might spring a surprise.

“I know Steve [King] well, I’ve known him throughout my whole career,” Bird explained.

“He’s someone I’ve locked horns with many times and they have always been good games because he knows I will go there and I will play my way and go there to win.

“Let’s face it, the pressure is all on Whitehawk. Everyone will expect Whitehawk to win apart from me and those blokes in the dressing room.

“What those guys in the dressing room are showing is that they aren’t beaten very easily.”

And Bird believes it will be a close encounter and a great opportunity for his team to show what they can do.

“The games between my teams and Steve’s teams are always tight and it would be nice to think this fixture will be tight,” he said. “I come from that level of football, I probably know more about that level than this level of football. I know what I’m coming up against.

“It will be a great opportunity for our players to show they have the potential to play at that level, and I think there are a few of them that do.”


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