WELLS manager Jason Bourne says he wants to bring silverware back home to the club on Saturday.
The Wells finished their Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign in fifteenth-place in the table, having collected 46 points from their 38 league outings.
They make the 12-mile round trip to Longmead Stadium in Tonbridge aiming to beat promoted side Whitstable Town to land the Challenge Cup.
Scott Porter’s side finished runners-up to Sevenoaks Town and complete their rigorous league campaign with a trip to Lordswood next Monday lunchtime. The Oystermen go into their second Cup Final of the season with 79 points in the bag and joining Micky Collins’ side in the Bostik League next season.
Reflecting on his side’s League campaign, Bourne said: “It was a tale of two halves really. The first part of the season we had a great FA Cup run and that sort of kick-started us but going out to Concord we slumped heavily over sort of two and a half months and that got us into the sort of position where we really struggled to get out of.
“The turning point was getting a new coaching staff on board. Anthony Browne (former Dover Athletic player) joined the coaching staff and since Christmas he’s turned it around and we’ve got a nice settled squad.
“In between the slump the league form we’ve had a couple of terrific cup runs. We got to the Quarter-Finals of the Kent Senior Trophy and got to the Challenge Cup Final now.
“To summerise the season, we’re disappointed with the league position but it honestly didn’t feel like we’re 15th best in the league. If feels like we’ve got good momentum and it feels like we’ve been winning games and the cup final is a great way of finishing it off.”
Bourne revealed Tunbridge Wells will have home advantage going into Saturday’s showpiece Final.
“Whitstable are a terrific side, they went on this unbelievable run, which took them to winning one cup final and getting to another and managing to get promoted,” said Bourne.
“Scott Porter is a great manager with a great bunch of boys there but our record over the last two seasons against Whitstable is very good.
“They’ll have concerns about playing us I’m sure. The last two season's we beat them once and drew with them and this year they beat us one and drew to us and they were very tight games, only one goal in it.
“We’ve got a full strength side out, they’ll very much have the same and hopefully we can do ourselves proud and bring home some silverware back to the club.”
It seems unfair on Whitstable Town that Tunbridge Wells are going to train on the Longmead Stadium pitch and Porter’s men aren’t going to have that luxury leading up to the game.
Bourne said: “I’ve got a good relationship with (Tonbridge Angels manager) Steve McKimm down at Tonbridge and they’re letting us train there on Thursday, which will give us a bit of an advantage and we’re the home team and we’ve got the home dressing room. It’s all little things that might factor in our favour and have a pivotal role in terms of the day and being successful.
“It’s massive for us! We’re a big, big club in terms of potential and in terms of fan base and stuff like that but the bottom line is everyone was all excited about the Vase thing, which was unbelievable but the clubs only won one trophy in 35 years and that’s the fact of the matter so although we’re a big club in name, in terms of being successful we’re not a big club and people need to remember that really.
“We won the Kent Senior Trophy in 2013, which I was captain off, which was an extremely very proud moment. To do it as manager would be a very proud moment and something that all the players have dug deep for and they thoroughly deserve as well as the support.”
Admission prices will be £8 for adults, £5 for concessions (over 65's and 11-16 year olds), £1 for under 16's.
Jason Bourne was talking to Stephen McCartney from www.kentishfootie.co.uk
Tunbridge Wells v Whitstable Town
Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Final
Saturday 5 May 2018
Kick off 1:00pm
At Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN10 3JF