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Former Arsenal youngster optimistic for Bromley’s cup hopes

By Charlie Russell

National League side Bromley play host to EVO-STIK Premier Division’s Workington AFC this evening in an FA Trophy 3rd Round Replay, following the pair’s 1-1 draw last Saturday.

The winner of tonight’s tie will face the winner of Spennymoor Town vs East Thurrock United on February 24 at home.

Bromley’s league performances have been strong with four wins in their previous five, putting them seventh in the league fighting for a play-off place.

Workington, a semi-professional side, are in a similar position in their league as they currently sit eighth, four points away from the top four.

Manager Lee Andrews has had to bring through a number of reserve players due to five first team players being unable to make the trip due to work commitments.

The away fans will have to make a 350-mile journey down from Cumbria in order to support their side as they try to secure a place in the last eight whilst also pocketing £8,000 in prize money.

Bromley are the more experienced side going into the game with players such as former Millwall defender, Alan Dunne and Wolves defender, Roger Johnson available to them. The National League side also have former Arsenal players, Ben Chorley and Josh Rees in their squad.

Rees spoke exclusively to Non-League reporter, Charlie Russell, ahead of tonight’s cup tie.

“I think we are taking this fixture as we would take any other fixture, whether it be league or cup game,” said the midfielder.

“As a squad, we have to believe in ourselves but we know we have to apply ourselves to get the result.

“Obviously, it’s good to be in front of a home crowd and we will give them something to cheer about this evening.”

Rees went on to speak about his side’s opponents saying: “We knew they weren’t to be underestimated due to their record in the competition. The pitch was a massive leveller in the end and if we had taken our chances in the first half it would be a different game.

“The only effect [on the league performances] we may have from extra games is fatigue and injuries. Therefore, we make sure we look after ourselves and recover properly when the schedule is busy.

“As a player, you want to be fighting on as many fronts as possible so motivation isn’t an issue for us.”

Rees spent 12 years with Arsenal before moving to Nottingham Forest in 2013. After one league appearance with the Championship side, the midfielder dropped down to Non-League in 2013 with Chelmsford City following two loan spells with Nuneaton Town and Torquay United.

Fifty league games later and eight goals to his name, the 24-year-old who previously trained with players such as Héctor Bellerín and Serge Gnabry signed for Bromley in June 2017.

Speaking about his drop down to Non-League, the former Forest man said: “I think I adapted pretty quickly. If you don’t then I think it is hard due to the league being so competitive.

“I had a good upbringing through academy football and the winning mentality was always there throughout the age groups. I think this has benefited me when playing Non-League football.

“However, I would recommend to any young player to get first team experience sooner rather than later and non-league football is great schooling for that.”

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