West Ham help East Thurrock bid to rock Hartlepool United

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EAST Thurrock United are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to preparing for one of the biggest matches in the club’s history.

The Essex side face a 290 mile trek north to face Pools in the first round of the FA Cup at Victoria Park tomorrow.

John Coventry’s squad – who will be backed by 100 travelling supporters – was heading north today on the luxury coach used by West Ham United stopping on the way for a training session at Bradford City, before spending the night in a Darlington hotel.

The same hotel used by Championship leaders Bournemouth, who play Middlesbrough away tomorrow.

The aim of the preparation is for the East Thurrock players – who thrashed Conference South side Bath City 7-1 in the last round – to taste life as a professional footballer to help give them the best possible chance of success.

Or at least that is the plan of Coventry and first-team coach Joe Keith, who spent almost a decade as a professional player for Colchester United, Bristol City, Leyton Orient, Shrewsbury and Brentford.

Keith said: “As soon as we realised we were playing Hartlepool I started to put together a plan.

“I want the players to do what I did back in the day and experience a weekend as a professional.

“Covo and Dev (assistant manager Jay Devereux) thought it was a good idea and the players are looking forward to it.

“It allows us to prepare in the right way and the players have given everything to reach this stage.

“All they have to concentrate on is the 90 minutes.”

The confident coach also has a warning to Hartlepool United – they are not just coming to make up the numbers.

Keith added: “We didn’t even play to the best of our ability in the last round.

“If all the elements work in our favour and we prepare in the right way I believe we can win.

“We have been given DVDs and information by Dagenham & Redbridge, who have also helped out with the coach arrangements, so we go there with every belief.”

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