DAN BATEMAN says his Sumas side can compete with teams from a higher league as he sets his sights on another Reading Senior Cup final.
Wokingham and Emmbrook began their road to the Madejski Stadium showpiece with a comfortable 4-0 win over Henley Town on Saturday thanks to goals from Sam Lawrence, James Charlton, Will Day and Josh Pearson.
While their league form has been inconsistent this season, Bateman and the Sumas are no strangers to success in this competition, winning it as recently as 2015.
The draw for the quarter-finals of the Senior Cup has not yet been made, but it will include some Hellenic Premier Division sides, including neighbours Woodley United.
Both of last year’s finalists Bracknell Town and Binfield declined the entry into this year’s competition, but Bateman is desperate to reach the final again.
“It’s always been a cup competition that I’ve had a lot of success with,” the Sumas boss told The Wokingham Paper.
“I’ve won it five times. I enjoy it, it’s a nice cup.
“You only have to win four or five games to get to a final and a day out at the Madejski is well worth it.
“I think in seven years, Wokingham have won it five times and lost in the semi-finals twice.
“We always save our best performances for that cup and we’ll be looking to do the same.
“The league is a big ask now, although we refuse to rule anything out.
“But we’ll definitely be looking for at the very least a cup final to attend come the end of the season.”
The odds will be stacked against Sumas to lift the trophy again given they are currently sitting mid-table in Hellenic Division One East.
Wantage Town are the highest ranked side remaining in the competition, fourth in the Hellenic Premier and 22 places above Wokingham in the league pyramid.
But Bateman is confident his team can compete with anyone they’re drawn against.
“I’d put my squad of players up against any and I include teams from the league above in that,” he insisted.
“It’s about getting the players consistently on the pitch week in, week out and also about trying to make sure people are actually playing to the best of their abilities.
“When we turn up with the right attitude and with the willingness to play then we’re more than a match for teams in our league or the league above.
“We just need to get that consistency and maybe a cup competition is perfect for that.
“We want to challenge ourselves against teams from a higher level.
“I’d be more than happy to have a good run in this cup and to end up with a trip to Madejski in May, I’d be chuffed to go again.”
Attention now turns back to the league with Wallingford Town visiting Lowther Road on Saturday (2.15pm).
The two sides met in the reverse fixture just two weeks ago with Sumas coming out on top 2-0, but Bateman is warning his side against complacency.
“It’s always difficult to play a team twice in such close proximity,” he said.
“It was a really good game over at their place. The first half was very even and I felt it could’ve gone either way.
“But we upped our game in the second half and took full control and I believe we thoroughly deserved to win.
“But Wallingford are a good side and they caused us enough problems over the 90 minutes to know that if we’re not at our best, then we’ll struggle to get something.”
He continued: “We’ll make sure that the lads don’t take anything for granted, particularly as Wallingford had a bad result on Saturday as well.
“After those two, they are going to be really up for putting that right.
“We need to make sure that we’re at the top of our game to keep our good run going.
“We’ve got a little bit of momentum after two good results and we don’t want to be giving that away by turning in a bad performance.”