Island bosses agree it's a first as Canvey Island are not favourites for derby clash with Concord Rangers

Echo: Danny Cowley - looking forward to tonight's game with local rivals Canvey Island Danny Cowley - looking forward to tonight's game with local rivals Canvey Island

CANVEY manager Danny Heale agrees with his Concord counterpart Danny Cowley that tonight will be a new experience for the Gulls as they head into the Essex Senior Cup island derby as clear underdogs.

Canvey’s proud history has always sent the majority of their supporters heading into the fixture expecting to beat their local rivals who, for many years, played in a lower division than them.

But Concord did the double over Canvey in the Ryman Premier last season and the Beachboys’ subsequent promotion to the Skrill South means they are now the area’s highest ranked non-league team.

Cowley said: “In this little puddle we play on it’s a big game and I’m sure it will catch the imagination again.

“The dynamics have changed because, in terms of our league status, we will be favourites, although in terms of finances and resources they are still ahead of us.

“We were not even on Canvey’s radar a couple of years ago so we’ll play with pride at being favourites this time.

“Canvey have struggled with the pressure of being favourites in these games over the years but we are going to look forward to it and will just try to do our best.”

Heale, whose in-form Gulls arrive on the back of a 4-0 demolition of Cray Wanderers on Saturday, admits they will be underdogs at the Aspect Arena tonight – but also admits he welcomes that.

He said: “Yes, we’ll be underdogs and it’s nice going there for once with them expected to beat us.

“Everyone is in their favour so we have got nothing to lose.

“But we are not going there to make up the numbers.

“They beat us 4-0 in pre-season – but I had a lot of big players missing for one reason or another, so I’m expecting this to be a different game.

“We are unbeaten in four and we’ve won our last two so our confidence is high and we’re looking forward to it.

“And last time we won there I scored the winner when Dean Mason set me up, so hopefully that’s a good omen!”

And Heale added: “Last season I’m not sure (former Canvey manager) Steve Tilson got our players up for the Concord game as much as they should be.

“But it’s bragging rights at stake and they matter to me and matter to our fans, and I can tell our fans our players will go toe-to-toe with them.

“My players will know how important this game is and we want to win.”

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