Clapton boss Michael Walther is gunning for FA Cup success against local rivals London Bari
PUBLISHED: 15:30 04 August 2016
Two Old Spotted Dog clubs do battle this weekend and Tons feel they are in good shape ahead of the new campaign
Clapton manager Michael Walther is bracing himself for the unknown when they take on London Bari in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
The two Essex Senior League clubs both play at the Old Spotted Dog and have enjoyed a healthy rivalry in the division over recent years.
Although they are used to playing each other at least twice a season, with this clash coming so early on in the campaign, Tons do not know what to expect from Bari.
Nevertheless, Walther is hoping to keep up his good record against their east London rivals. He said: “During my time as Clapton manager I have never lost to London Bari.
“I do always say that they are one of the hardest teams to play against, though, because they have a really unpredictable style of football.
“Also it’s difficult to know what team they are going to have out, but whoever does play for them, they usually move the ball quickly and are really sharp.”
Since Walther took over at Clapton club during the summer of 2014, they have won three of their five matches against Bari in all competitions and drawn the other two fixtures.
And the Tons will go into the FA Cup clash in good form after winning their first Essex Senior League match of the new season last weekend.
Fahad Nyanja opened the scoring at home to Tower Hamlets after just four minutes and Nathan Cook added a second before half time.
Clapton managed to keep it tight for the rest of the match to ensure they got off to a triumphant start in the division.
Walther added: “We are trying to make ourselves hard to beat because we all know we have the pace in behind defences to score goals.
“Now if we can keep it tight at the back, then we should go on to have a good season and do well in several different competitions.
“I do like to try and watch a side before we play them in the FA Cup. This year it seems like Bari have changed their team and all of their players, so preparation’s difficult.”
Clapton host Stansted in the league on Tuesday, while Bari visited Takeley on Tuesday night and lost 2-1 in their league opener.
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