By Deal Town

Hoops manager Derek Hares has told his players they must quickly regain their defensive solidity ahead of Saturday’s FA Vase second qualifying round tie at Hollands & Blair.
After conceding just five goals in their opening five league games that figure had doubled by the end of last weekend’s 5-3 defeat at Welling Town and Hares said: “We’ve been good at the back so far this season so what happened last Saturday was a bit of a surprise. At least three of their goals came from defensive errors and we’ve got to cut them out because it will be a tough game at Hollands & Blair.”
The teams have already met this season, with a Connor Coyne goal earning Deal a 1-1 draw in the league at the Charles Ground last month. That was one of four draws that Blair have had in their seven league games so far, and wins in two of the others mean that the Gillingham club are currently lying in seventh position in the SCEL Premier Division table – seven places above the Hoops.
But Deal will able to draw encouragement from their last visit to the Star Meadow Stadium in early March when goals by Sam Wilson (2) and Coyne gave them a 3-2 victory. They will however again be without Dave Pilcher or Josh Maughan on Saturday while Alfie Foster is only rated as “50/50” because of a thigh injury.

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