Jamie Howell hopes James Crane’s innate ability to score crucial goals doesn’t prove to be the former Bognor manager’s undoing when his Eastbourne Borough side host Rocks in the FA Cup.
The two teams will meet each other in a mouth-watering third qualifying round tie in the prestigious competition on September 30, following the draw yesterday. It comes after Rocks dispatched Weston-Super-Mare when a last-minute Crane goal gave them a late 2-1 victory.
Boro, who will host the game at their Priory Lane ground, reached the next stage thanks to a 4-3 win over Carshalton Athletic.
Howell spent eight years as part of the Nye Camp management team and was at the helm when they gained promotion to the Vanarama National League South last season.
It means, of course, that he knows all about his upcoming opponents…and that man Crane. He said: “Bognor in full flow are a side who are difficult to contain. Players such as Ollie Pearce and Jimmy Muitt up front, Dan Beck and Doug Tuck in the middle and the strength of Sami El Abd at the back makes them a strong proposition.
“And we all know Craney can pop up and score vital goals as he did against Weston…knowing my luck he will pop up with a goal a week Saturday!”
Howell has steered Boro to 10th in the league standings since taking charge, and secured three points against the Rocks when his side enjoyed a league victory at his former stomping ground earlier this season.
And he was happy to get that particular game out of the way, he says, before welcoming Jack Pearce’s men to Eastbourne on Easter Monday for the reverse league fixture.
An FA Cup tie against the Rocks means they will renew acquaintances sooner and the fixture wasn’t necessarily on Howell’s wanted list, he has revealed.
“I thought it was someone having a joke at first,” he said. “I would have preferred a different opponent for all sorts of reasons. I know the money you receive for progressing in the cup is important to both clubs, for instance. Anyway, we are at home so that’s in our favour.”
Pictures: TOMMY McMILLAN