Busy time in league and cups for Canvey

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The Independent Football

BEFORE Canvey Island can concentrate on their tie with Southend United in the second round of the FA Cup tomorrow week, they must turn their attention to a less exciting encounter with another of their Essex rivals.

BEFORE Canvey Island can concentrate on their tie with Southend United in the second round of the FA Cup tomorrow week, they must turn their attention to a less exciting encounter with another of their Essex rivals.

Tomorrow Canvey visit Harlow Town in the second round of the FA Umbro Trophy. On Tuesday, when the Islanders won 2-1 in a first-round FA Cup replay at Port Vale to set up their derby with Southend, they were very much the underdogs, but the Ryman League Premier Division side will be the favourites against Harlow, who are in the First Division of the same league.

The twin assault on the two tournaments, plus their quest for the Ryman title (they are level on points with Farnborough Town and Aldershot Town at the top of the table), are combining to make this a season to remember for Canvey, who were in the Essex Senior League as recently as 1993.

Canvey are hoping to hear by today if they will be allowed to play the FA Cup tie against Southend on their own Park Lane pitch. They want to retain home advantage and, as they have staged ties against Vale last month and Brighton in 1995, they are anticipating police approval.

Wherever the tie is played, it will be a special occasion for Canvey's five former Southend players: Steve Tilson, Mick Bodley, Mark Stimson, Craig Davidson and Adam Miller. Tilson has split loyalties: he is employed by the Roots Hall club as the director of their School of Excellence.

Elsewhere in the Trophy there is a Hampshire derby between Aldershot and Havant & Waterlooville, and a Cheshire battle between Stalybridge Celtic and Witton Albion.

The Nationwide Conference clubs do not enter the tournament until the third round, so they will be involved in league action tomorrow. Rushden & Diamonds, who visit Dover Athletic, will be hoping to regain second place from Southport, who are not playing.

The Haig Avenue club are one point ahead of Rushden after their 1-0 home win over Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday. Mike Marsh, the former Liverpool midfielder, was the match-winner with a late penalty.

Yeovil Town, who are four points ahead of Southport with a game in hand, entertain Telford United. The leaders have strengthened their squad by signing the striker Alex Meechan, who had a successful spell at Forest Green Rovers earlier this season, on loan from Bristol City.

The Forest Green left-back Wayne Hatswell is having a trial with the Second Division club Oxford United.

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