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Barking’s Gardner believes lowly Romford will provide toughest test yet for his side

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 November 2017

Barking'’s Kiernan Hughes-Mason goes offside against Canvey Island (Pic: Terry Gilbert)

Barking'’s Kiernan Hughes-Mason goes offside against Canvey Island (Pic: Terry Gilbert)

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Barking manager Justin Gardner has pinpointed their clash against Romford as his biggest test of the season so far.

Barking’'s Dan Gilchrist on the charge against Canvey Island (Pic: Terry Gilbert) Barking’'s Dan Gilchrist on the charge against Canvey Island (Pic: Terry Gilbert)

The Blues will host Paul Martin’s men at Mayesbrook Park on Saturday (3pm) as they look to extend their unbeaten run to nine games.

Gardner’s men go into the match high on confidence after keeping four clean sheets in a row.

“My toughest game as manager is this Saturday,” said Gardner.

“There is no tougher game than Romford and I hope my players respect them and don’t look at the table and think it will be easy.

“If we win on Saturday I will be celebrating more than I did against Canvey Island.”

Romford currently sit bottom of Bostik North but Gardner has huge respect for the strugglers.

“I have watched them once myself and had them watched twice,” he added. “They’re the only team we have had watched three times and that just shows you how much I respect them.

“If we don’t match their work rate we will lose the match.

“The only problem is Romford do change their squad quite frequently and that’s probably due to circumstances, so it makes them hard to judge, but I will be the best prepared as I can.”

The manager also praised his opposite number Martin for how he sets up and how hard he gets his teams playing.

“With Romford it’s all about the manager Paul, I know him well and I know how he sets up his team,” he said.

“They have turned over some of the bigger teams like Hornchurch and Canvey in recent weeks and are on a bit of an unbeaten run themselves.”

Gardner also mentioned Boro captain Mike Finneran as a key player from previous experiences with the defender when he managed him at old club Aveley.

“Mike Finneran is their most important player for me,” he said.

“I had him at Aveley, so I know him very well, he’s a good player and we’re actually really close friends outside of football as well.”

The Blues boss believes he’s got a real selection headache as he has almost more than one player performing well in every position in recent weeks.

“We have competition all over the pitch now,” he added. “We have two goalkeepers fighting for the number one shirt, we have four strikers competing for two spots, then we have plenty of options in defence and midfield.”

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