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Boss warns Rocks not to underestimate Maidstone
7:00am Friday 5th October 2012 in Sport
FA CUP: JOHN Coventry has warned his East Thurrock side to be on guard against complacency when they take on lower league Maidstone United in the FA Cup tomorrow, writes James Colasanti.
The Rocks are just a couple of wins away from repeating their heroics of last year when they went on a lucrative run in the competition before being knocked out by League Two Macclesfield.
But the experienced Coventry says it would be foolhardy to look ahead of tomorrow’s game at Rookery Hill, saying their cup run last season underlined just what a great leveller the FA Cup is.
He said: “The one thing I’ve made sure my players know is that just because we are playing a Maidstone side who are from the division below us, we should not just expect to turn up and win.
“We went to an Eastbourne Borough side who were in the Conference South last year and knocked them out of the FA Cup.
“So we won’t be looking past this game, no way, and we won’t be underestimating Maidstone.”
Maidstone went to Grays and won 5-0 in the last round. Coventry went to see them wallop Tooting 5-0 last week, and says their confidence will also be high after an FA Trophy win over Margate.
He said: “Maidstone are quite a direct side with two big men up front, so we will need to be right on top of our game to beat them.”
The Rocks boss has cause for some quiet confidence, though, as his side come into the game on the back of four straight wins.
He said: “We were playing well in the early part of the season, but just not getting the results.
“And anyone who came and saw us will tell you it was often a case of us just not taking our chances in the first 20 minutes.
“But now we are taking those early chances and that, of course, helps us settle into a game and brings confidence.”
Coventry said it’s no coincidence that their good form has coincided with a goal-rush for influential front-man Sam Higgins, who has four goals in the last three games.
He said: “Sam scored a goal for the reserves and from then the confidence has returned and he’s just kicked on from there.
“Bringing Hakeem Araba in has also helped, but I never doubted Sam would start scoring again.
“I not sure this is exactly right but I think Sam has played 100 games for East Thurrock and has scored 88 goals. I think those stats tell you everything you need to know about Sam Higgins.”
Rocks’ only injury doubt heading into tomorrow’s game is over midfielder Sam Collins, who has an ankle problem.
For much more non-league coverage see Friday's Echo newspaper.