Jersey ready to spoil Guernsey’s Muratti party

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The razzmatazz of the Cherry Godfrey Centenary Muratti Vase final is just two days away and boats and planes will be full to capacity taking supporters to Guernsey all weekend.

Jersey followers will be outnumbered four-to-one in a crowd of 5,000, but I expect them to be noisier at the finish as skipper Chris Andrews collects the Vase for the second time as captain.

Dave Matthews’ squad have had a disappointing South West Counties Championship but that could all be forgotten by late afternoon if his troops win for the fourth consecutive year.

Influential midfielder Dave Brodie has already predicted a Jersey win and Matthews – and I – agree with him.

Matthews, who has won the previous two Murattis, said: ‘Dave says we are going to win and I agree with him totally.

It is going to be tough in front of such a large crowd but there is a great buzz in my squad and we are capable of doing the job.

‘Two years ago we got out of jail with a couple of late goals and it was our pace that hurt them.

‘We are fully fit and raring to go.

We will got to the ground early on the day to have a look at the stands and see how far they are from the pitch.

‘We will discuss things and then concentrate further on the game.

There’s no point looking at the facilities near the kick-off because we could then start worrying about possible intimidation from the fans and that might put one or two off their games.

‘We will attack Guernsey in their own back yard.

It is going into the lion’s den but I’m confident we can quieten their fans.

‘There is a huge expectancy for the home fans and I feel that might go against their team.

It is a massive game for both island’s but with them at home I believe they are expected to win.

‘It’s going to be daunting for us too, there is no doubt about that.

They’ve also not won for three years so there is added pressure for them too.

‘Guernsey have had a good season in the South West Championship while we have not.

We have been in a tougher ground than Guernsey but it all counts for nothing on Monday, it’s the Muratti and we want to win.

‘We respect Guernsey and their players and we know we have to keep them tight.

It promises to be a fantastic occasion with the Centenary celebrations and at the end of it all I want to be able to look back with pride on another win and a good footballing spectacle.’ So how will Matthews play and what formation while he turn out? Has already said this week that he will attack Guernsey so I think he may opt for a 3-5-2 formation.

He is taking a big squad to Guernsey including four goalkeepers – Jimmy Styles probably favourite to start after a good season for Trinity and on the back of keeping a clean sheet in Jersey’s 3-0 win last season.

Injury prevents Ryan Lumsden another cap and the main reason for possibly switching from 4-4-2.

The solid and dependable Trevor Le Maistre should link up with Stuart André and Craig Ferey, the latter pair who are both excellent markers.

James Hayward is equally at home on the right as wing-back with fellow-Trinitais John Fitzmaurice on the opposite flank.

Should Guernsey get good possession they will drop deep giving extra protection to Jersey’s defence.

Brodie, who consistently hurts Guernsey teams when he is on song, will play the anchor midfield role with Andrews on his right and Ged McConnell on his left.

McConnell is an excellent box-to-box player who has a great knack of turning up on the blindside – something he is very good at – either to score goals or create them for others.

Andrews’ pace is electric and although occasionally over-elaborate when in form he is exciting to watch.

Has the tendency sometimes to over do it but certainly one who could be a match-winner especially against Guernsey’s big Foote’s Lane pitch against an ageing central partnership of probably John Nobes and Stuart Polson.

Dave Le Roux and Ross Crick I’d start in attack.

Le Roux is full of tricks and he holds the ball up well.

He hasn’t the firepower of Crick but he chases down everything when others would give up the ghost.

Crick’s goal-scoring prowess is tried, tested and proven.

Two in the final last year, in a season when he netted 61 times.

Less games this season but he has still bagged 22 to top score for Jersey Scottish helping them to three pieces of silverware.

Guernsey should not be underestimated.

Jersey will have to be at their best to win and they have to overcome many aforementioned hurdles.

I believe they can win, possibly 2-1 after extra-time or maybe bring them back to Jersey for more Centenary celebrations on Sunday 15 May.

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