The England C training session. *Photo by James Burton
The England C training session. *Photo by James Burton
21 April 2010

Boss Paul Fairclough says he expects Bermuda to seriously test his young England C side when they two teams collide at the National Sports Centre on Tuesday night (7:30pm kick-off).

Fairclough, 63, who is also director of football at Barnet, believes the game will be a ‘tough’ examination for his squad, all under 23 years old, as they prepare for the International Challenge Trophy, which begins later in the year in September.

The game will also see Fairclough go up against Damon Ming, who he knows from the player’s Barnet days, and the much-respected coach says he hopes the island comes out to support both teams.

“I think we know what to expect,” he told the Bermuda Sun after a training session at North Field featuring six Bermudian National Academy players.

“There will some experience in the side. I think Damon Ming will play, who I know from his days over in the UK.

“He’s a lovely lad so it will be great to hook up with him again. We know about them and we know it will be a tough game. It’s been classified as an ‘A’ international, which is great, and I hope that all the people on the island, as many as possible, come out and support Bermuda and the England C team.”

Fairclough’s planning for the International Challenge Trophy means there is 14 new caps in the squad, which contains top, young talent from the Conference National including Antoni Sarcevic (midfield, Chester) and Andre Gray (striker, Luton Town).

“It’s a very competitive trophy,” he said. “We went out of the semi-finals in February to Turkey and it was the full Turkey Under-23 side with the likes of Aydin Yilmaz who scored the winning goal — he plays for Galatasary and is playing against the likes of Real Madrid.”

He added: “That’s what being here is for – it’s preparation for that. We have one more friendly in September and then the tournament starts. So these are a fresh group of lads. There’s 14 new caps, very young.

“I’d lost two from the original squad because they got snapped up by clubs  in the football league, so I had to make the phone call and tell them, sorry lads, you’re not coming to Bermuda because you’re no good to us anymore!

“We’d done our job for them, getting to the England C side seems to help them. We’ve had something like 190 players in the last 10 years who have gone from the England C team into the professional game. Just before we came out George Boyd signed for Hull City, now in the Premier League, and George was a regular member of this team as was the likes of DJ Campbell (Leicester City, Blackpool, QPR).

“This team is a platform. All the hard work is done with their clubs but playing for the England C does give them a rubber stamp for clubs to say they must be good because they are playing against good opposition, so I’m going to take a chance.”

The Bermudians that joined the England C training session were Jaylon Bather, Tre Ming, Terrence Webb, Dominique Williams, Reiko Trott and Casey Castle.

England C squad: Preston Edwards (Ebbsfleet United), Mitchell Walker (Dover Athletic), Daniel Bradley (Alfreton Town), Antoni Sarcevic (Chester), James Norwood (Forest Green Rovers), Christopher Stokes (Forest Green Rovers), Marlon Jackson (Hereford United), Sam Clucas (Hereford United), John Hunt (Wrexham), Michael Demetriou (Kidderminster Harriers), Andrew Cook (Grimsby Town), Andre Gray (Luton Town), Ryan Jackson (Macclesfield Town), Harry Beautyman (Sutton United), Anthony Acheampong (Welling United), Fraser Franks (Welling United).