RICK Andrews views Tuesday’s Suffolk Premier Cup tie versus AFC Sudbury as a good benchmark of how his Stowmarket Town side are progressing.
The Thurlow Nun League Premier Division side have already put out higher-league Mildenhall Town thanks to a 4-1 win away in one of only two first-round ties.
Now they face another Bostik League North opponent in AFC Sudbury in the second round at their own Greens Meadow ground.
It is only just two years ago that Stowmarket, then playing in Division One of the Thurlow Nunn League, were playing the likes of Touchline SIL Senior Division sides Westerfield United and Capel Plough in the CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup.
Stowmarket (gold shirts) are pictured in action in their 5-0 win against Westerfield United (blue shirts) before losing 2-1 to Capel Plough in the third round.
Andrews said: “It will be an interesting game because they have the same principles as us in that they want to get the ball down and play.
“We are expecting a good game between two teams who like to play that way.
“We are looking forward to it and getting a decent crowd come to watch and it will be a good benchmark as to how we are progressing.
“It is always nice to test yourself against higher-league opposition. We did play Basildon in the FA Cup (lost 2-0) earlier this season, but we have not faced any of the local sides such as AFC Sudbury, Needham Market or Bury Town.
“I got what I wanted in the draw which was a home game against higher-league opposition and we will be able to see where we are at.”
Stowmarket currently sit fifth in the Premier Division following Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Brantham Athletic, who started the day in sixth place.
Andrews said: “It was pleasing to keep a clean sheet as it was a different type of game that we edged. Brantham were well organised and made it difficult for us but I felt we deserved to win.
“Josh Mayhew didn’t have the best of games, but did what he does best and got a goal out of nothing and then Ollie Canfer scored late on to put the game to bed.”
Apart from long-term injury victims Luke Read and Leon Ottley-Gooch Stowmarket should have a full-strength squad to choose from, with the possible exception of Phil Weavers who has had a muscular problem in his back.
Tom Walters, who recently joined from Norfolk side Mundford, was rested on Saturday after picking up an injury in training but should be fit for selection.
Suffolk Premier Cup Second Round: Felixstowe & Walton Utd v Woodbridge Town, Framlingham Town v Brantham Athletic, Hadleigh Utd v Bury Town, Kirkley & Pakefield v Whitton Utd, Leiston v Haverhill Rovers, Lowestoft Town v Needham Market, Stowmarket Town v AFC Sudbury, Walsham-le-Willows v Ipswich Town XI.