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  • Writer's pictureRob Stevens

Bhatti hoping youth and experience could be the perfect blend for Frontline Reserves in Cup final

PICTURE: Frontline Reserves taken on current cup holders, FC Deportivo Galacia Reserves in the Slough Town Junior Cup final at Burnham FC on Wednesday evening (7.30pm).

Frontline Chairman, Imran Bhatti, hopes that a combination of youth and experience can fire the Reserves team to success in the Slough Town Junior Cup final on Wednesday evening (7.30pm).

Frontline returned to the East Berkshire League this season but Bhatti admits it has been troublesome to run two teams with injuries and work commitments impacting on player availability.

The club has had success however, with the first team in the semi finals of the Ascot & Fielden Cup (home versus Singh Sabha, Friday 7.45pm at Burnham Grammar School), and reaching the quarter finals in both the League Cup and Presidents Cup.

The Reserves side has been in a purple patch in recent weeks, winning their last four matches in the league, and Bhatti believes the key to the improved form is a combination of new young players and returning older heads.

Bhatti said: “It’s through the almighty’s grace and mercy that Frontline Reserves has reached the Slough Town Junior Cup final. A prestigious competition that has been around for a very long time. We’re pleased to be a part of this as we enter the competition every year.

“This season has been a very tough one for the Club. I’m sure everyone appreciates that running one side is hard, running two sides is a nightmare. This season has been very difficult predominately due to a lack in availability because of work and injuries.

“This did, however, create the opportunity for us to utilise five or six players that have come through our youth system. They’ve embraced the challenge with open arms and done really, really well.

“To add stability to the Reserve side, we’ve had to introduce or to back to some older heads to bring in some experience. So, collectively over the past month-and-a-half, this youth and experience has gelled together and produced some very, very good results.”

FC Deportivo Galicia Reserves are bidding to retain the Slough Town Junior Cup won in 2019 (competition now completed in 2020 and 2021 because of the Coronavirus).

PHOTO: Frontline Reserves are currently in sixth position in Division One of the East Berkshire League having on their last four matches, scoring 20 goals and conceding four.

Frontline might be without some key players for the final because of injuries but, Bhatti believes that if his team can prevent Deportivo from settling into the match at Burnham FC, there’s every chance they can finish the season on a high.

He said: “There’s a slight concern at this moment in time with some key players that are desperately trying to overcome injuries picked up last week and the week before.

“We don’t really know much about our opponents apart from they’re a good footballing side that plays in the Middlesex League, where they are the current champions.

“We will approach the game in the same way we do with every team we play, we’ll go in with confidence that we can win the game and confident that we’re better than them in every area of the park.

“We won’t allow them to settle and, providing we can do this, we have the firepower, will, grit and determination to beat them.”

Bhatti added: “Our first team reached the final in the 2013/14 season and won but its’ the first time that our reserve side has got this far.

“If we put in the required work rate and take our opportunities there’s no reason why we can’t be victorious.

“If we achieve this, it will be a great way to finish off a troublesome season, and more importantly, it would be brilliant for the youngsters to achieve this in their first full season in adult men’s football.

“Regardless of the result, it will be an exceptional experience for all involved and I’m sure that everyone enjoy the evening.”

To enter the East Berkshire Football League ahead of the 2022/23 season, or for further information about the league, or an entry form for the upcoming season, please email the team at


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