Bulls play Harefield in cup

Joe Kilshaw (leaping into the arms of Lorne Bickley) returns to the matchday squad following a long layoff Picture: GEORGE MARRIOTT (37097740)

“I SOUND like a bit of a broken record,” jokes Gary Freeman. UUֱ Bulls’ attention may be diverted from the league to the knock-out format of the FA Vase, but their approach to any game remains the same.

Bulls travel to Harefield United tomorrow for the chance to get to the fourth round.

The Middlesex club are struggling at the foot of the table in the North division of the Combined Counties Premier League, while Bulls ride high in the South. Manager Freeman admits he fully expects his side to win but is wary not to take anything for granted.

“We could have had a tougher away draw, but, as with every team in this level, you’ve got to be on your game on the day,” he said.

“We expect to win games, so we’ve got to go for it. We’re going to be aggressive, on the front foot, as we are in most games.”

Since their second round win over another team from Harefield’s division, Holyport, Bulls have enjoyed two clean sheets and scored seven goals.

All signs suggest that they have found the balance they have been seeking between being defensively sound, while threatening in attack. That has meant that the fullbacks, in particular captain James Querée on the right, have less opportunity to get forward, being mindful of the potential threat of an opponents’ quick counter-attack.

“We’ve brought in a bit of a solidity to the back four and midfield two, freeing up the front four to go and attack. We will continue that and continue the good run,” he added.

“After last Saturday, we were getting questioned why our fullbacks aren’t getting forward so much but James Querée is a very good defender and he gives you that solidity, going forward in an intelligent way to support from behind. He probably just doesn’t go and leave himself wide open as maybe we have done in the past. So I think you can see he’s brought that in.

“We’re in a good position at the minute and we’re building on this system.”

Nevertheless, with Jay Giles out with a long-term injury, the more attack-minded James Carr on the left gives Bulls more of a threat going forward, while Freeman has plenty of alternative options in the squad at right back with Frank Tobin and Will Byers both travelling.

Also back in the squad of 16 is midfielder Joe Kilshaw, returning after a long lay-off. And with a new crop of youngsters coming through, such as Seaney McColgan and Harry Scott, both unavailable tomorrow, there is plenty of options for Freeman to ponder over the course of the season.

“It’s important that the youth on the Island sees there is an opportunity and that’s crucial for this club that there is that pathway,” continued Freeman. “But also, a lot of the more experienced players like Jonny Le Quesne and Kamen [Nafkha] have really stepped up these past few weeks.”

Action from Preston Park is set to get under way tomorrow at 12.45pm.

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