Hillians and Heath flying the flag for Mid Sussex in the FA Cup

Ian Chapman's men travel to Erith Town
Ian Chapman's men travel to Erith Town

Burgess Hill Town and Haywards Heath Town are flying the flag for Mid Sussex as they prepare for the first qualifying round of the FA Cup this Saturday.

Heath have already played two games in the competition this season - beating Bedfont Sports and shocking Bostik South side South Park in the preliminary rounds.

Now they host Southern Counties East side Tunbridge Wells at Hanbury Stadium (3pm kick-off).

Manager Shaun Saunders said: “Saturday’s game will be very difficult, they are a very good side.”

Callum Saunders and Naim Rouane are still sidelined and remain sidelined, but Saunders said: “I am hoping to add to my squad this week.”

Burgess Hill Town play their first game in the competition away at Erith Town of the Southern Counties East League Premier Division. And Ian Chapman knows it is a big game for the club. He said: “It’s a real big game for us. The situation with us it’s financially massive for the club to try and get a cup run.

“I am sure Erith will feel the same way. We will go there with our strongest squad to try and get through to the next round.

“It’s important because I believe if you have a good run in the cups, you tend to do well in the league as well. It goes hand in hand.”

Hillians notched up their first league win of the season, beating Worthing 4-1 on Bank Holiday Monday (report on page 71). This followed a 6-1 defeat to big spenders Billericay on Saturday.

Chapman said: “Billericay away was never gong to be easy, they are in a different world to everyone else. At the start of the weekend if you had offered me three points from the tw0 games I would have took it.

“To win Monday was massively important and to show the character we showed. Being beaten 6-1 can be demoralising but the players stepped up yesterday and put a good shift in.

“It probably wasn’t a 4-1, it flattered us a little bit. But some games you play well and don’t get the regards and yesterday we got some reward so I was really pleased.”

Reflecting on Billericay, Chapman said: “First half we were decent although we rode our luck a little bit. They came out second half and they made two changes, bought on Adam Cunnington and we just couldn’t deal with him.

“We conceded two goals in six minutes around the 50th minute and it was the end of the game really.”

One person who will not be playing at Erith is Will Miles, who had the devastating news he will probably miss the rest of the season. Miles discolated his knee and an MRI scan revealed he had ruptured his MCL, ACL and also badly injured his LCL too. The club held a bucket collection at Monday’s game to raise money.

A statement on the club website said: “Will sustained a horrible knee injury during our game against Kingstonian and faces a long period of rehab before he can play again or return to work.

“Any donations to help support Will during this time will be greatly appreciated by everyone at BHTFC.”

Chapman said: “Gutted for Will. He come back this season and it was the best he looked. He got really fit in the summer and I made him captain. It’s a massive blow for us and him. He was really decent in pre-season. We will do what we can to help him recover.”