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James hoping Burnham will rise to the occasion in FA Cup clash with Whyteleafe

David Lee

Gavin James fired the Blues to victory in the last round


Burnham boss Ashleigh James is hoping his players will ‘rise to the occasion’ when they take on Whyteleafe in the FA Cup second qualifying round.

The Blues welcome their opponents from the Isthmian League South East Division on Saturday with another bumper crowd anticipated at The Gore.

While the Government’s restrictions on fans attending ‘elite’ games has caused frustration for the likes of Slough Town and Maidenhead United, clubs in Burnham’s position have attracted more supporters with people searching for their ‘football fix’.

James said: “It’s actually worked in our favour and that’s why the chairman decided to lower the ticket prices because at times like this people are struggling. We don’t know how long we’re going to be playing for the moment with the lockdown looming so it’s about getting people in to enjoy it while they can.”

The club had an attendance of 237 for its first round qualifying victory over Northwood and James said he hoped this would be closer to 300 on Saturday.

COVID-19 guidelines will be in place with face coverings compulsory when entering the clubhouse and table-service in operation.

James had faced the prospect of being banned from the dugout for the biggest game of his fledgling managerial career after he was sent off at half-time during the club’s 2-1 Hellenic League defeat at Windsor on Saturday.

The player-manager confronted referee Christopher Potter at half-time, taking umbrage with his failure to take action over a foul on Cian Duncan.

But his disciplinary hearing has now been pushed back to next week, meaning he can take his place on the sidelines next to assistant Manny Williams and first team coach Elliot Derby.

James said: “It was a narrow defeat (against Windsor) but we didn't play very well at all.

“From Northwood and the performance levels we set against them, to then play like we did against Windsor wasn't acceptable.

“I don't mind losing but to lose in the manner we did, I wasn't happy.”

He added: “Going on our FA Cup form, it’s brilliant and we seem to rise to the occasion and I’m sure we’ll rise to this occasion again. Every-one at the club is well-excited for this match and we feel like we can definitely have another upset on the cards.”

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