BRANTHAM Athletic Reserves manager Paul Bertram has warned his players they must play the match and not the occasion in their CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Semi-Final.
Bertram’s youthful side face Bungay Town in the last four at Walsham-le-Willows FC on Friday, kick-off 7.45pm, for a place in the final against Woodbridge Town.
Brantham Athletic Reserves lost 4-1 at Leiston Reserves in the semi-final, but have taken their place after a disciplinary issue saw Leiston removed from the competition.
Paul Bertram and his assistant Andy Brown are in their first season in charge after arriving in the summer from Little Oakley, where they were in charge of the club’s Development side.
He said: “Our aim at the start of the season was to finish in the top five and we are currently sixth in the Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division. We lost five of the first eight games but have now won 12 out of 15.
“We have had a successful season and pushed several players through to the first team, which means we have quite a few players who are not eligible.
“The players are looking forward to it, but they must make sure they play the game and not the occasion.”
Brantham have four 16-year-olds in their squad – Ollie Brown, Kyle Roling, Dan Rowe and Miles Wallace – with Bertram saying if they are good enough, they are old enough.
“It will be a great night for the club and hopefully we can emulate the first team and get through to the final, although if we do we will have to re-arrange our end-of-season do as it is on the same night!”
Brantham’s first team face Thetford Town in the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup Final on May 7th, meaning the club could face the prospect of two cup finals in five days.
Bertram added: “There is a really good community feel about the whole club right now from the moment players walk in the door as under-7s right through to the first team.
“This is thanks to chairman Peter Crowhurst, chief executive Darren Smith, director of football Tony Hall and secretary Dan Allen as well as ‘A’ team manager Joel Andrews and first-team joint managers Michael Brothers and Matt Carmichael.”
Admission is £5 for adults and £3 for OAPS and children under-16. A souvenir programme, priced £1, will also be on sale.