Football in Bracknell
Interviews

Neil Baker and Jon Underwood prepare to return to Bracknell Town FC

Pair served the Robins with distinction throughout the 2000s and head to the Lane on Tuesday night with Slough Town in County Cup

Neil Baker and Jon Underwood prepare to return to Bracknell Town FC

Former Bracknell Town players Neil Baker and Jon Underwood make an eagerly anticipated return to their former stomping ground of Larges Lane on Tuesday night with Evo Stik Southern League Premier Division promotion chasers Slough Town.

Bakes and Unders served the Robins with distinction throughout the 2000s, including several matches against their current club when both were battling for survival in the South & West Division. Both teams are now happily in less uncertain waters fighting at the right end of their respective league tables and on Tuesday night, for a place in the semi final of the Berks & Bucks County Senior Cup.

The Robins have issued some travel advice for any supporters headed to Larges Lane, Read it here.

You’re coming back to a club you served so well as players, you’ve had some massive games this season but how does that compare and what will returning mean to you?

Jon Underwood: Being honest this competition is below the league and FA cup in terms of priorities but when you are in a QF you want to win it. We won the Surrey Senior Cup with Godalming and it was a great occasion and we’d love to win this competition with Slough. Coming to Bracknell Town is a big thing for us. We loved our time at the club and we are looking forward to catching up with some old friends tomorrow night.

Neil Baker: Yep not much more to add on that ! Obviously both sides have bigger priorities but it is a game that both sides will enjoy and want to win

Neil Baker scores for Bracknell Town against Carshalton Athletic at Larges Lane.

Neil Baker scores for Bracknell Town against Carshalton Athletic at Larges Lane.

Absolutely agree, the competition is stronger though I think because of the changes. Hungerford learned in the previous round they couldn’t take it likely – so what are Bracknell’s strengths that you’ll be looking out for?

NB: Well clearly they are a side who score a lot of goals, have pace in wide areas, and are hard working throughout, obviously their home record is very good on the 3G, however we have the same advantage in terms of playing on 3G, and whilst not the same will be very similar. We will set up our side to play to our strengths, and whilst we know the strengths of Bracknell it won’t stop us playing the way we are used too.

JU: I’m sure also there will be the added competitive edge that will come from players knowing each other and the ex Slough players wanting to put in a good performance against their old managers! We have a lot of time for all of the Bracknell players who played for us and are really looking forward to coming up against them.

The club appears to have the ambition to push on to the next level and they have a management team and squad capable of taking them there in my opinion – Jon Underwood

A lot has changed at Larges Lane since you were players, what do you make of it?

NB: It’s great for the club, as the town the size of Bracknell should have a football club playing at a good level, and this allows them to progress, obviously future plans are hopefully being put in place also, and would be great to see the club push on… from our point of view 3G is the way forward and I would like to see the majority of sides with these facilities in the future

JU: Agreed. The club appears to have the ambition to push on to the next level and they have a management team and squad capable of taking them there in my opinion

For the supporters – a player to watch on both sides?

NB: Seb Bowerman is one we have kept a keen interest in since he was at Binfield and is having an excellent season to date, for ourselves would rather not pick anyone out. And of course Jamie McClurg who is known for scoring goals in big games!

Seb Bowerman. Photo: Neil Graham.

Seb Bowerman. Photo: Neil Graham.

Nostalgia time, best moment in a Bracknell shirt?

NB: Beating Basingstoke in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup, and also playing in a 7-4 win against Fisher, what a crazy game of football that was

JU: Yes would agree (again!) with the Basingstoke game! Funnily enough another one that stands out was a 1-0 win at Slough (played at Windsor) in the semi final of the B&B cup. A real backs against the wall performance to get us in the final.

Best player you played with (excluding each other)?

NB: In terms of any team then Wayne Bridge or Martin Rowlands and for Bracknell Town Ben Edwards. And Clurgy was always up there also.

JU: I would go for Ben Edwards. He got better and better with every season and he then became a great player for us as managers. Also a mention for Stuart Hammonds who we played with in a back three and he was Mr Consistent.

Ben Edwards plays on a muddy Larges Lane surface.

Ben Edwards plays on a muddy Larges Lane surface.

FINAL one! Why should anyone make the effort to get to the lane tomorrow night?

JU: Two good sides who score plenty of goals. It won’t be a 0-0!

NB: Agreed two sides who will be looking to win the game, and with the game dedicated to Super Kev that is fantastic from Bracknell and with 5 pound entrance it would be great to see excellent numbers there!

JU: And also with the game being kindly dedicated to our great friend and physio Kev McGoldrick who sadly passed away last week it will be the first chance for a lot of Slough fans to pay their respects.

Thanks chaps!

The other Berks & Bucks County Senior Cup Quarter Final ties are:

  • Thatcham Town VS Woodley United (20th Feb)
  • Windsor VS Milton Keynes Dons  (14th Feb)
  • Bracknell Town VS Slough Town
  • Didcot Town VS Chesham United (20th Feb)

If you are headed to Larges Lane on Tuesday night you might want to read through our Away Day guide to Larges Lane which details the best ways to get to the ground as well as ticket prices and importantly how much a beer will cost you.

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Tom Canning

Tom is the co-editor of FootballinBracknell. He has played at the lowest possible level of football. In real life Tom works for Trinity Mirror. Manager of Binfield Ladies in the Thames Valley Women's League.

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