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After the buzz created by last weekend’s Vase win over Southall it’s back to the “bread and butter” business of picking up league points for the Hoops on Saturday.
The home game with AFC Croydon Athletic is the first of five league matches that Deal will play before their fourth-round Vase tie against Binfield on January 11 and manager Derek Hares says: “We’ve got to put the Vase on the back-burner for the time being because we’ve got some important league games coming up over the Christmas period.”
That run of league fixtures begins with the visit of an AFC Croydon side who the Hoops have beaten comfortably on their last two trips to the Charles Ground, winning 3-1 last season and 3-0 in the 2017-18 campaign. Sam Wilson was among the Hoops scorers in both of those victories and Hares says the striker has an outside chance of being involved this weekend after missing the last five matches because of a knee problem.
But Luke Bigginton is still suspended while Kane Smith and Joe Reeves are both ruled out by hamstring injuries against a Croydon side who are currently in 16th place in the table with 14 points from 14 matches.
Hares added: “They are a bit of an up and down side, and I always think that they are stronger at home than what they are away – I hope I don’t regret saying that but it’s usually the case.”
If Deal can make it three home wins “on the bounce” against Croydon it will set them up nicely for the league fixtures against Fisher (away, Dec 14), Lordswood (home, Dec 21), Canterbury (away, Dec 28) and Corinthian (away, Jan 4) ahead of the Vase clash with Binfield.  

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