Sep 17 2009 By Greg Burns
ANDY Leese has hailed his current Chesham United squad as the best group of players he has managed in a decade.
The United boss was speaking after he watched his side power past Ryman Premier Division outfit Harrow Borough in the FA Cup on Tuesday night.
A brace from Darrell Cox earned the Generals a 2-0 victory at Earlsmead after a 1-1 stalemate at The Meadow on Saturday forced a first qualifying round replay.
The win saw United secured £3,000 in prize money and a second qualifying round tie at home to higher opposition when they host another Ryman Premier side Billericay Town at home on September 26.
With a host of talent, including last year's top goalscorer Danny Burnell, either injured or suspended for the cup tie, Leese praised the depth of squad at his disposal.
He said: "It was very impressive tonight. I said to the players after the game that we have set a new standard and raised the bar yet again.
"We have a terrific squad here. When you see that Burnell is suspended and that we have players like Kevin Cotton, Dom Marsala and Steve Obeng on the bench who would all feel like they should be in the starting line up.
"This team is a work in progress and it is probably the best squad of players I have had for about 10 years."
Leese has experienced the glory of a decent FA Cup run when his Potters Bar Town side missed out on a first round proper away trip to Tranmere Rovers by a late goal away to Woking in the fourth qualifying round in 2006.
But promotion from the Southern League Division One Mids is the ultimate priority this term and, while United have made a positive start and sit fourth in the table, they have their toughest test of the season this weekend.
The Generals travel to Hitchin Town who, after relegation from the Premier Division last season, have started this campaign with five victories out of five games and only conceding one goal.
Leese said: "We love playing in the cups with the financial rewards and high profile that it brings.
"But our downfall last year was that after our cup runs we did not have the points in the bag to mount a proper challenge. I will not let than happen this season.
"We have a real test on Saturday. I am not going to put any pressure on us to have to win the game because I don't think any league table takes shape until at least 10 games have been played.
"But Hitchin have clearly set the benchmark so far and it will be a chance to see where we really are."