By Deal Town

The Hoops play the first of two late-season league matches with Cray Valley when they “lock horns” at the Charles Ground on Saturday.

Various postponements have meant that the last month of the campaign has arrived with the two sides yet to contest league points, but they have played each other twice in cup competitions with the Eltham-based outfit winning on both occasions.

Cray Valley won 3-1 in a Kent Senior Trophy 2nd round tie in October and then defeated Deal 1-0 in a League Challenge Cup quarter-final in February – and Derek Hares’ squad must return to the Badgers Sports Ground on April 21 for their rearranged league meeting.

Cray Valley are currently seventh in the Southern Counties East League table with 47 points, nine points more than the Hoops having played one game less.

Deal should be back to near-full strength this weekend with Charlie Walsh having completed his suspension and Liam Hark, Lee Scott, Andy Miller and Alex Coyne all returning to the squad after being unavailable for last week’s 2-1 home defeat by Crowborough.  

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