BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent manager James Webster would swap beating Brantham Athletic in the FA Vase today for three league points.

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The Thurlow Nunn League Division One side have created history by reaching the Third Round Proper of the competition for the first time, but Webster is adamant that promotion remains the priority.

Webster, who is in his fourth season in charge at North Road, said: “Brantham are more experienced than us and play in the Premier Division, and it suits us to be underdogs.

“It may motivate some of my players, who think they should be playing at that level, to prove a point.”

Webster has watched Brantham twice ahead of today’s tie – a 3-0 win away at Wivenhoe and last Saturday’s 6-3 victory over Thetford Town.

He said: “We already knew they were a good side – you only need to look at their league position – and I know some of their players who have previously played for me.

“They are very direct and their front three are all good players, but they don’t get back often and we see that as something we can exploit.

“But it could not be much tougher for us, and if we progress it will be a bonus, but I would rather have three points in the league, to be honest.”

Brightlingsea finished fifth in Division One last season in their first year following promotion from the Kent Blaxill Border League, but are currently in ninth place and 13 points behind leaders Newmarket Town.

After losing four of their opening six league games, Brightlingsea have won six of their last seven, resulting in the club winning the bi-monthly award for the best overall performance in October and November in the Thurlow Nunn League.

Webster said: “It is nice to be recognised and we are on a good run, but promotion has always been the aim and will continue to be until it is mathematically impossible.

“Cup runs are great and everyone enjoys them, but we want to get out of the First Division.”

Webster said their slow start was as a result of an injury sustained by goalkeeper Darren Moyes just before the start of the season.

“We signed Darren Moyes from Whitton United as our No.1 and he injured his shoulder just before the start of the season. We had to play a reserve goalkeeper and it resonated through the team. There was no confidence in the back four.

“I managed to re-sign Dan Beeson, who was our goalkeeper when we won promotion from the Border League, and we have not looked back since.

“He kept something like 24 clean sheets that season and since his arrival has filled everyone with confidence and kept seven clean sheets in ten or 11 games.”

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