The Clarets finally return to league action as the Vanarama National League South kicks off tomorrow! The visit of Farnborough sees the Clarets lock heads with Michael Folivi, who after his spell with Chelmsford last season, switched allegiances. Robbie will be hoping that the Clarets get off to a winning start tomorrow, looking to repeat the score lines of either of the games with Farnborough last season.
Farnborough are still managed by Spencer Day and come into the 2023/24 season off the back of an impressive finish in last season’s highly competitive National League South season. Spencer Day has been in charge of Farnborough since 2011, having previously had his side in the Conference South for 5 seasons. Last season they had an impressive FA Cup run which saw them defeat League 2 Sutton United away from home in the first round. Day’s men were knocked out in the next round, after they drew Wrexham, and came to a 4-1 demise. Their finishing position in the league was 12th, just 8 points away from the playoffs. For a large majority of the season, it looked as if Boro were going to be right up there until the very end but, they slipped away when it mattered most. This season, with good business, they will look to be at the business end of the table and go a step further than they did last season.
The name in the Farnborough squad which would stand out to Clarets fans is Michael Folivi. Having suffered a horrific injury at Colchester, Michael took time out of the game before his return to football with the Clarets. He played 15 times for Robbie’s side and netted himself 6 goals. This includes a brace against Farnborough which had a dramatic 90th minute winner. Another of Farnborough’s notable players is again a former Chelmsford man Ricky Holmes, who started his career with the Clarets. Playing 154 league games, Holmes notched up 49 goals and was also playing on the international stage. He featured in the 2008 England C squad, where he made his international debut. After Chelmsford, he had spells with the like of Portsmouth, Charlton and Sheffield United before ending up at Farnborough in August 2021. He did briefly leave to become player/assistant manager at Dover, but swiftly returned to Farnborough whilst the option was still there. Boro’s business has been neat, with players such as Alfie Pavey, Connor Cullen and Dan Gifford coming in. Pavey featured for Braintree in the second half of the last season, as he helped push for promotion. Cullen and Gifford were both announced this week, with the first returning for a second spell in Hampshire. Gifford is a former Portsmouth academy player who spent time on loan with Weymouth last season.
At Farnborough last season, it was smash and grab for the Clarets. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb’s low cross was met by Harry Lodovica who turned in with just minutes to go to give the Clarets the 1-0 win. It was hard fought, with Ovie Ejeheri making a great penalty save to deny Hisham Kasimu. On further inspection, both managers agreed the penalty was rather soft and Ejeheri made sure justice was served. In the reverse fixture, it was once again smash and grab. The season was continuing with drama, and this game emphasised that point. It was 2 playoff pushers, and a win would have been vital for either side. Mason Bloomfield was able to capitalize on an early mistake, as inside the first 10 minutes, as he gave Farnborough the lead. The Clarets pushed the Yellows, seeing Dave Winfield head home just before half time to equalise. It was a quick start to the second half as Bloomfield doubled his tally before Folivi struck back and levelled. He was the hero extremely late on, as Simeon Jackson set him free on the counter. Folivi was composed as he managed a chip over the keeper to send Clarets fans wild and wrap up the 3 points.
In terms of team news, it is very much in the unknown, with preseason having been a clear one in terms of injuries sustained. Robbie will have plenty of players to choose from, with a large squad available to him already. All of his new signings should be available to start, and make their home debuts.
Tickets can be bought by clicking this link. Please note that online tickets will be available for purchase up until 12:00pm on matchday.
Ticket prices online:
Adult – £15
Senior (65+) – £10
Concession – £10
Full-Time Student – £5
Youth (12-17) – £5
Under-12s – Free
Family (2 Adult, 3 Child) – £25
Entry can also be purchased at the turnstiles from 1:00pm on the day at the Melbourne Community Stadium.
Ticket prices on the day:
Adult – £17.50
Senior (65+) – £12.50
Concession – £12.50
Full-Time Student – £7
Youth (12-17) – £7
Under-12s – Free
A matchday programme will also be available to purchase on the day for £3.
WHERE TO FOLLOW THE GAME:
To keep up with the game, follow the coverage on the @OfficialClarets twitter page, where updates will be posted using the hashtag, #TheClarets.
There will also be live audio commentary from Radio Clarets, which can be found before and during the game on our Twitter.
Post-match reports and interviews will be found on the club website, social media and Youtube channel ClaretsTV, following the game.