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Ken: "Little Sol doesn't scare me"

The prospect of facing Sol Campbell in Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie will hold no fears for Farnborough Town striker Ken Charlery.

The prospect of facing Sol Campbell in Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie will hold no fears for Farnborough Town striker Ken Charlery.

The England defender was still in nappies when, as a teenager, Charlery used to visit the Campbell family home in east London to hang out with Sol's elder brother, Paul.

He was just starting out in football back then, playing in the same Sunday league side as Paul. His career eventually took him to Peterborough, Watford, Birmingham, Stockport and Barnet before he moved into the non-league game.

Charlery may be plying his trade four divisions below his friend's younger brother now but the 38-year-old feels he has the psychological edge of over Sol.

"The last time I played against Sol was in an FA Cup third-round game when he was at Tottenham and I was at Peterborough," Charlery said.

"I scored a goal in the replay at White Hart Lane after we had held them to a 1-1 draw at home.

"Hopefully I can do the same for Farnborough this weekend and score at Highbury. I'll certainly be relishing the occasion.

"I grew up in the same neck of the woods as Sol and I used to knock around with his brother, Paul. He was the goalkeeper in the Sunday league side I used to play in."

Spurs eventually knocked Peterborough out of the cup that year on penalties. To push Tottenham's north London rivals as close would be a dream come true, but Charlery concedes the chances are slim.

He added: "If Arsenal field a weakened side, like they did against Oxford in the last round, I believe we could have caused a shock at our place.

"They're not used to playing in a tight ground, on a bumpy pitch in front of a small crowd and we would have one per cent more of a chance."

Still, Charlery, who has been capped eight times by St Lucia, believes it's a great opportunity for the younger players in the side to sample the atmosphere at the Gunners' famous old ground.

He said: "I've played at Highbury before when I was at Watford and I've also played at Old Trafford and Wembley during my career so I won't be too nervous about going to their place.

"But for the younger players in the side, it's going to be a great day out. When the draw was made their faces were a picture — it was like they had just won the pools."

One Boro player Charlery believes will shine on the big stage is strike partner Rocky Baptiste.

"He's got bags of pace and does unpredictable things like Kanu," Charlery said. "On the day it wouldn't surprise me if nutmegs someone and puts the ball in the top corner.

"He wants to get back into the Football League and the game will be a massive shop window for him."

Charlery, though, won't be taking up any offers to rejoin the professional ranks. He admits this season will probably be his last in the game before he embarks on a career in management.

He said: "I've been trying to pack up for about five years but every summer I get that dreaded phone call from someone wanting to sign me.

"I think this summer I'm going to turn my phone off. If it is to be my last season then it will be great to end my playing career winning at Highbury."

He might just find himself struck off Sol Campbell's Christmas card list if he scores the winner.


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
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