By Natalie Benville

After picking up an encouraging four points from their opening two league games the Hoops turn their attention to knockout football on Saturday (3pm) when they take on Whitstable Town at home in The Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round.
And although on paper it’s clearly a difficult tie with Whitstable now playing in a higher league after winning promotion to the Bostik League South East Division last season, Hoops’ manager Derek Hares believes his side can cause a surprise.
He said: “It’s Whitstable’s first game of the season so that could give us a bit of an advantage, and our home form was good last season.“
Among the Hoops’ victories at the Charles Ground in the 2017-18 campaign was a 2-1 success over Whitstable last September when Scott Porter’s team were top of the league, but Deal lost the away league fixture in March 3-0 and later the same month they were also beaten at The Belmont 1-0 in the League Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
Hares added: “You know what you are going to get when you play Whitstable. They are a big, strong and physical side and they don’t change the way they play.”
The winners of Saturday’s tie will pick up a tasty £2,250 in prize money and go on to meet Sutton Common Rovers or CB Hounslow Utd away in the preliminary round on Saturday, August 25.

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