By Deal Town

The Hoops will have to break down the tightest defence in the Southern Counties East League when they entertain Sevenoaks Town in the quarter-finals of the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy today.

Micky Collins’ side have conceded just 20 goals in 21 league games, an impressive record which helps to explain why they have emerged as genuine title contenders. Sevenoaks are currently lying in third place in the table, three points behind leaders Ashford United but with a game in hand.

Sevenoaks have picked up 25 points out of a possible 30 from their last 10 matches and it’s an exciting time for the “Oaks”, who in 2016 were named the FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year for the South East and who are now looking forward to laying a 3G all-weather pitch at their Greatness Park ground early next season.

But the Hoops will draw encouragement ahead of Saturday’s clash from the fact they have a good recent record against Sevenoaks. Deal took four points off the ‘Oaks in the league last season and also beat them 4-2 in a League Challenge Cup second-round tie at the Charles Ground.

The teams have already met once this season, with Sevenoaks winning 2-1 in a league game at Greatness Park in early December, but Hoops’ manager Derek Hares said: “We will take confidence from that game having pushed Sevenoaks as close as most teams have recently.”

One blow for Hares is that midfielder Joe Anderson has been ruled out for at least a fortnight due to the ankle injury he picked up in last weekend’s home game against Ashford.

Deal Town Reserves, who didn’t have a game last Saturday, return to action this weekend with a league match at New Romney Reserves.

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