By Alex Narey
Beaconsfield Town boss Gary Meakin has revealed the club’s FA Trophy first round draw with Leyton Orient has the potential to cause a few headaches in the boardroom – with the club’s vice-chairman a life-long O’s fan.
Steve Sweetlove is a regular at Brisbane Road whenever his duties with the Rams allow him time away, but Meakin is adamant he will have to put his ‘fan’ loyalties to one side for a day as they go toe to toe with the National League leaders.
“He (Steve) goes to see Orient a fair bit,” says Meakin. “In fact he is going to watch the game tonight against Aldershot.
“He can support them all he wants but when we play them he has to put all that to one side. He’s even talking about making half-and-half scarfs.”
With the Trophy draw still regionalised, Beaconsfield – currently pushing towards the play-off spots in Southern Premier South – will travel to Justin Edinburgh’s O’s on Saturday December 15. And while there would be a temptation for the Orient boss to rest players with National League promotion their number one priority, Meakin wants his side to face the best the Brisbane Road side can serve up.
“It’s tempting and understandable to rest players,” he says. “But it’s a fine margin because you want that continuity.
“We have the same issue when we play league and county cups; you think about resting players but there is a danger doing that.
“Personally, I would like Justin Edinburgh to field his strongest side, so we can go there and test ourselves against the best in front of a big crowd.
“We will go there knowing we have to give it a go, and who knows. You need a bit of luck and maybe a dodgy refereeing decision and it could turn out to be a good day for you.
“Leyton Orient are really a Football League club; it’s the biggest draw we could have got but we are under no real pressure. The pressure is to go there and give a good account of ourselves and not lose by ten goals or something silly like that.”
Meakin, who listened to the draw live on his phone while at work on a building site, believes it is reward for all the hard work and effort that has gone into the club in recent years that culminated in them winning the Southern League East last season.
“It’s what we needed really as a club,” he says. “We have been doing so many great things in the last few years and getting a draw like this makes people sit up and take notice.
“It’s not going to change the world but it will put what we do in the spotlight a bit more and hopefully people will recognise what the club is all about.”