Gilbert issues challenge to Vase hopefuls
DARREN Gilbert has challenged his Bodmin Town squad to test themselves at a higher level of competition, on the eve of their FA Carlsberg Vase clash with Downton.
The third round tie at Priory Park tomorrow (3pm) is Bodmin's biggest game of the season so far against the Wessex League leaders, with the winners getting £1,500 and a place in the last 32.
And Gilbert said: "Our players have been all-conquering in the Peninsula League – now it's time to test ourselves at a higher level.
"They don't come much bigger than this for us, this is where we want to be.
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"We want to be still in the FA Vase after Christmas. That's always been the aim, and I want to see if our boys can show what they can do.
"If the Bodmin Town team that I know can turn up, we'll give Downton a very good game on Saturday."
Downton won 5-2 away to Buckland Athletic in the last round of the Vase, and they have a stunning away record in their league, with seven wins out of nine matches on their travels this season.
Gilbert said: "We don't know too much about them to be honest but we've had a chat with one or two people from Buckland who told us about their game against them.
"I think it was a case of Downton taking their chances on the day and Buckland missing theirs; I don't think there was that much to choose between them."
Bodmin go into tomorrow's tie without influential midfield man Shane Krac, who serves the last game of a suspension after being sent off in a league game against Elburton last month.
Bodmin had tried to rearranged a league game in midweek in order to play Krac and free him from his ban, but all attempts ended in failure.
Gilbert said: "We did make moves to get a game on with Plymouth Parkway on Tuesday but their pitch wasn't fit.
"Then we could have had a game at our place on Wednesday, but it was too close to the Vase game and we wanted to protect the pitch anyway.
"To bo honest, I would have struggled to get Krac a starting place in the team this weekend because the likes of Stevie Colwell and Olly Brokenshire have been playing so well.
"We have won our last two games 5-1 and 9-0 without Shane, so we seem to have done all right. Olly seems to take a bit more responsibility when Shane is out of the side."
Defender Lewis Reed is injured but otherwise Gilbert selects from a full squad.
Bodmin are due to play their twice-postponed Throgmorton League Cup second round tie at Ivybridge next Tuesday evening.
If the tie is postponed again, it will become a home game for Bodmin, and will be scheduled for next Wednesday, December 12, with a 7.30pm kick-off. The winners are away to Torpoint.