THE best Sunday League side in the country stand between Gym United and glory in a national competition this weekend.
So says Gym United’s player-manager Matt Morton, who is also chairman of the Premier Logos Bury & District Sunday League side.
Gym United will be bidding to become the first Suffolk side to win the FA Sunday Cup when they face holders Hardwick Social at Bramall Lane, home of Sheffield United FC, on Sunday, kick-off 1pm.
Morton is under no illusions as to the size of the task awaiting his side – nine of their opponents’ starting line-up are expected to play for Stockton-on-Tees versus Thatcham Town in the Buildbase FA Vase Final at Wembley Stadium on May 20th.
Morton has watched the Stockton Sunday League side twice – once in last year’s final and again in this season’s semi-final 2-1 victory over New Salamis at Alfreton Town FC.
He said: “They are a very good side, and I saw them beat a very good side in the semi-final as well.
“They have played exactly the same way both times, so I don’t think they will surprise us how they set up for the final.
“We won’t be changing anything – it would take something very obscure or particular to make us change what we do as we have a way of playing.
“Their style of play probably suits us to a certain extent and it could be a very good game or a stalemate as both teams rely on being solid and well organised and counter-attacking.
“They will probably be the best defensive side we have played against this season, so it will be more difficult to come back if we go a goal behind as we could then get hit on the break.”
Gym will be without injured Thetford Town duo winger Ben Anderson, who has pulled a quad muscle, and left-back Alex McIntosh, who has torn a cartilage in his knee that needs an operation in the summer.
Also missing is Stanton’s Cordell Jackson, who has played in every round of the competition but is on holiday on Jamaica, while Cameron King is once again unavailable after signing a contract with King’s Lynn.
Gym will be waiting on the fitness of strikers Wayne Proctor, the former Stowmarket Town striker, and Debenham Leisure Centre’s Tanner Call, who have ankle and dead leg injuries respectively.
Most of the Gym United squad are not playing for their club sides on Saturday – unlike before the semi-final – and the team are travelling up later that evening.
They will be joined by two coachloads of supporters and with other fans travelling by car and rail, Morton expects they will have around 100 people cheering them on.
He added: “It will be the biggest game we have played, but I don’t feel as much pressure as in the semi-final. We are in the final, so are one of the top two teams in the country and playing at a Premier League standard ground.
“We just need to go out and enjoy it, be up for it and aggressive but also relax.”
The game kicks-off at 1pm and admission costs £5 for adults and £1 for Under-16s on the day of the game.