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Gold proud to lead Lions into FA Cup

    Ahead of the team's first-ever outing in the FA Cup, Danny Caro talks to London Lions manager Tony Gold.

    DC: How happy are you with the way pre-season has gone?

    TG: This has arguably been one of the best pre-seasons I can remember in recent years. The players have shown a focus and application which I haven’t seen since we won promotion from the Herts County League back in 2010.

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    DC: Which players have stood out?

    TG: To be fair, the majority have all played their part and are where they need to be physically and mentally. Josh Kennet is looking back to his best after a serious injury which has taken almost a year to get over completely. Sam Sloma, Jake Gottlieb, Mario Cenolli and Aron Barnes have also looked fit and very sharp.

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    DC: How much do you know about your opponents? Have you scouted them?

    TG: I know nothing about them other than the fact they play in the Essex Senior League. I will know a lot more about them after Monday night as they play away to Barkingside; myself, Steve and Darren will be going to cast our eyes over them.

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    DC: How difficult will it be for the players to get their 'competitive heads on' for the first game of the season?

    TG: Difficult? It won’t be difficult, completely the opposite in fact. The players won’t need any extra encouragement from me. They are champing at the bit to get started and are looking forward to every challenge.

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    DC: Is this the most talented group of players Lions have ever had?

    TG: I would have to say individually, yes. However, a team is judged collectively. The team I managed that won the Herts County Premier League was tremendously driven and extremely dedicated. That dedication and the teams mental strength made that side the best Lions team in the clubs history. This current group are more than capable of emulating the 2009/10 Lions side and time will tell whether or not they can produce the same elements to be just as or even more successful.

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    DC: Where do you think the game will be won and lost?

    TG: Simple, we are a team that creates a lot of chances; providing we are clinical in front of goal we will win the game. The game will be lost if we lose our discipline and concentration at crucial moments during the game. We have worked incredibly hard pre-season on every player’s individual game to keep it as simple as possible.

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    DC: What will you say to the players just before they go out?

    TG: This is the FA Cup - the biggest domestic cup competition in the world. Stick to the game-plan, stick together, work hard collectively and enjoy the occasion. The result should then, by rights, take care of itself.

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    DC: In terms of your career, will Saturday be the highlight?

    TG: I will extremely proud to lead London Lions out in their first-ever appearance in such a prestigious tournament. I have been very fortunate to have had many amazing highlights and experiences within football and this will certainly be up there with many of them.

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    Match details
    FA Cup
    London Lions vs Clapton FC
    August 11
    KO: 3pm
    Venue: Hemel Hempstead Town FC
    Address: Vauxhall Road, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP2 4HW

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