CHERTSEY Town player-manager Kevin Maclaren believes his side can take advantage of the ‘turmoil’ at Southend United and heap more misery on the National League strugglers in Saturday’s FA Cup tie.

The Pitching In Isthmian League South Central outfit ply their trade three divisions below the Shrimpers and have already made new ground by getting this far, reaching the fourth qualifying round for the first time in their 132-year history.

Maclaren’s side overcame higher-division Chesham United two rounds ago before becoming the first team to beat Jersey Bulls on their own turf last time out, setting up a plum tie at Roots Hall this weekend.

And, with the managerless Shrimpers having lost five of their last six games, Maclaren is setting sights on what he believes would be the greatest result in the club’s history – surpassing their FA Vase triumph in 2019.

“There seems to be a bit of turmoil at the club so it’s not the worst time to play them,” he said.

“We’ve watched their last few games and they’re not performing well.

“I’d have fancied our chances a little bit more if Phil Brown was still in charge, just because if a new manager is appointed before the weekend they might get a bounce and give the place a lift.

“Whenever you play a professional team, they’ll be that bit quicker, fitter and stronger but away from that the margins are quite small.

“We’re full of good players who can cause them problems and I believe we have the quality of the squad to cause a massive upset.”

Maclaren admitted Southend would be ‘a different animal’ to the sides they have faced so far but his experienced side will not be daunted by the challenge.

“Southend were definitely the biggest team we could have got,” Maclaren said.

“Personally, I’d have liked a team at home but if it wasn’t going to be that, it doesn’t get much bigger than Southend away at this stage.

“We are massive underdogs but the players are thriving on that.

“I think it would surpass the Vase if we won.

"In the Vase, we were the highest level in the competition whereas to get to the first round proper, we’ll have had to beat teams from divisions higher than us.

“If we beat Southend on Saturday, it will be the biggest win in the club’s history, for sure.”

And Maclaren is looking forward to hearing the travelling support in full voice this weekend.

“I’d anticipate we’ll bring around 300, maybe more, and I know everyone is looking forward to their big day by the seaside,” he said.

“An FA Cup run always brings that extra buzz and hopefully we can still be in the hat on Sunday.

“Our incentive is about leaving a legacy and making history. We’ve done that in one respect by getting this far but we want the biggest scalp this club’s ever had and that’s Southend United.

"That’s what we’re after.

“We want Chertsey supporters to be talking about this day for years to come.”

>Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports.

For more details click here