Painter can’t wait for FA Vase clash

Tiago Andrade (blue shirt) returned for Broadbridge Heath on Tuesday night after three months out
Tiago Andrade (blue shirt) returned for Broadbridge Heath on Tuesday night after three months out

Steve Painter is relishing taking his side into FA Vase action on Saturday.

Broadbridge Heath take on Hassocks in the second qualifying round this weekend having not played in the competition for seven years.

Painter’s focus in recent years has been on getting his side promoted into County League Division 1, but this year his large squad, despite a number of injuries, means Heath will be going all out in their cup competitions.

He said: “We have taken some cup competitions, not lightly, but our focus has been getting into County One in recent years.

“Although we have lots of injuries, we have a big squad and the FA Vase is a competition we want to have a really good run in.

“It is a really prestigious cup for obvious reasons and we haven’t been in it for a few years, so it’s a good opportunity.”

Saturday is the first of two cup games for Heath as they then visit St Francis Rangers in the Senior Cup next Wednesday.

Painter added: “Where we are, we are taking one game at a time.

“It’s really important the lads stay focused as we have a lot of players who have not played County One football before, that is exciting enough so it’s about keeping their feet on the floor.

“I have said to player, we have a massive opportunity to stay in this league and we will be going all out for that as well.”

Tiago Andrade will be sidelined for up to two months after lacerating his kidney in a freak training-ground accident.

Painter added: “It’s been a lot about of the players we have had out, although I did have a couple back on Saturday.

“Hopefully, in the near future we will have everyone back. Tiago is long term which is a real blow as he is important to how we play.”