Billingshurst all set for historic Crawley clash

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Billingshurst host the biggest game in their history tomorrow night when League One outfit Crawley Town visit the Jubilee Fields.

Months of organisation and preparation at the County League Division 3 side culminates in the eagerly-anticipated visit of the Football League giants.

Former Premier League boss John Gregory is expected to bring a near full-strength Crawley side and a number of triallists to the Jubilee Fields as both teams embark on their friendly campaign in the build-up to the new season.

A bumper crowd is expected for the clash with plenty of home support along with a number of Crawley fans making the short trip to get their first glimpse at their newly-built side.

Billingshurst’s new manager Paul Cooper is hoping that the match has awoken a ‘sleeping giant’ of support for the club and that it will help them build for the future.

He said: “I am hugely looking forward to the game. John Gregory has been incredibly down to earth throughout the organising of this game, and it’s testament to him that as a manager of a professional League club he is showing his support to grassroots football and has really bought into the fixture.

“The buzz around the club has been incredible and we have had huge interest from people looking to come to the game and show support. We hope its awoken a sleeping giant within the village and surrounding area – and would love for it to continue beyond this game.

Cooper will be encouraging his side to play the right way against their professional visitors to help judge how pre-season preparations are going.

Crawley are expected to feature former Arsenal utility player Cedric Evina and former Everton winger Femi Orenuga in the squad tomorrow with both vying for deals with the Reds.

Gregor said: “Paul Cooper and Steve Barrow got in touch and we’re looking forward to going down there and stepping up pre-season preparations.

“They are an extremely well-run club with good facilities and an excellent pitch. It’s not far for our own fans either to travel and we look forward to an enjoyable start to the pre-season friendlies.”

Billingshurst chairman Kevin Tilley added: “We are really looking forward to hosting Crawley Town for what is probably the biggest game Billingshurst have been involved in, in over 120 years.

“We hope this will be the beginning of a long-lasting relationship between us and our nearest Football League neighbours. All of us at the club have been working very hard to ensure that it should be a great evening.”