MANAGER Glenn Driver is hoping his Leiston side can finish their season on a high – and finally break their Omni Freight Services Suffolk Premier Cup Final hoodoo.
The Bostik League Premier Division side will start favourites to beat Bury Town, who play a league below them in the North Division, in Wednesday’s final at Portman Road, kick-off 7.30pm.
Leiston have previously appeared in the showpiece final for the county’s highest-ranked clubs on four occasions – and lost them all.
One of those was during Driver’s first spell as the club’s manager – a 3-2 defeat after extra time to Lowestoft in the 2005-06 season – and Leiston lost the following two finals as well the 2015-16 final.
Leiston saw their promotion hopes finally extinguished with a 1-0 defeat to Dulwich Hamlet in Thursday’s play-off semi-final, but Driver (pictured above, left, alongside assistant manager Tony Kinsella) is confident his players will be ready to go again.
He said: “We know it won’t be easy. I have a lot of respect for Ben Chenery and what he is doing at Bury Town.
“But we are a very tight-knit group and I said to the boys after Thursday I was immensely proud of them for finishing fifth in the league over 46 games and getting to the Premier Cup Final.
“We have made history this season with our highest league finish, most points and most wins and our gates are also up – so we want to now finish off on a high.
“I don’t think I will have to pick the players up too much as they are all very professional how they go about their business as they have shown across 50 games this season.
“We have finished as Suffolk’s top non-league side and none of the likes of Lowestoft, who have had their troubles, Needham Market and AFC Sudbury have won any silverware, so we have the chance to be the only team at our level to do so.”
Guest of Honour at the final will be Roger Osborne, who 40 years ago to the week scored the winning goal for Ipswich Town in the 1978 FA Cup Final against Arsenal.
Admission to Wednesday’s final is £10 for adults and £5 for concessions which applies to OAPS and children aged under-16.
Pre-school children accompanied by an adult will be admitted for £1.
The turnstiles to the Cobbold Stand, where spectators will be seated, will open at 6.45pm.
A souvenir programme, priced £1, will be on sale.
Leiston squad: Marcus Garnham, Kyle Hammond, Seb Dunbar, Jack Ainsley, Joe Jefford, Tom Bullard, Chris Henderson, Patrick Brothers, Jake Reed, Christy Finch, Byron Lawrence, Dominic Docherty, Joe Marsden, Matt Blake, Rob Eagle, Charlie Beckwith.