Bartley expecting toughest test yet of Marlow's promotion credentials

Marlow boss Mark Bartley accepts Saturday's trip to league leaders Bracknell Town will be a good test of their promotion credentials, however, he firmly believes the side can go there and continue their remarkable start to the season.

Marlow goalkeeper Simon Grant

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Marlow boss Mark Bartley accepts Saturday's trip to league leaders Bracknell Town will be a good test of their promotion credentials, however, he firmly believes the side can go there and continue their remarkable start to the season.

The Blues have won all seven of their league and cup matches to date, rising to third in the Isthmian League South Central Division with four wins from four, and progressing to the third qualifying round of the FA Cup, where they will meet step 3 side Harrow Borough away from home a week on Saturday.

The trip to take on the Robins is still scheduled for Monday evening, but both sides would like to see the game moved to 3pm on Saturday, with the Blues keen to squeeze in as many training sessions as they can for what looks like being a tough FA Cup tie at Harrow on Saturday, October 2.

Bracknell lead the way in the South Central Division with five wins from their opening six matches, but they have played two games more than the third placed Blues, who are yet to concede a goal.

That resilient defence will surely be tested by the likes of former Maidenhead United striker, Dave Tarpey, and James Clark, who was banging the goals in for the boys in Blue just last season before switching to the Robins.

Looking ahead to what promises to be a mouth-watering clash between two of the division's pace-setters, Bartley said: “It’s a good test of our credentials to go the distance but I believe in the players.

“But yeah, if we win it will probably make everyone else sit up and take notice of us. We have a lot of belief and it's a great opportunity.

“They’re top of the league and we’re unbeaten and have won every game, and we're going there having not conceded a goal.

“It's the game of the day in our league and who doesn't want to be involved in these types of games. We've got some work to do in preparation, but we believe we can go there and get a result.”

Bartley admitted that injuries and suspensions are starting to take a hit on the Blues squad, but he's hopeful they can patch up the likes of Alex Salmon and Ashleigh Artwell who've played such a key role in the flawless start they've made so far.

“We'll be going into this one without Isaac Osei-Tutu, while Ashleigh Artwell was injured in the game against Northwood and Alex Salmon got a knock against Abbey Rangers on Saturday. There's a few that we're trying to get sorted for Saturday, but there's not a lot we can do about it and the squad is beginning to take a bit of a hit.”

Bartley expects confirmation from the league early this week that the game at Bracknell is being switched to Saturday at 3pm. This weekend has been set aside for FA Trophy fixtures, but both Marlow and Bracknell Town have been given a bye through to the next round so have a spare weekend.