THE prize may be a final at Portman Road, but Ipswich Town Under-18 coach Adem Atay says his side will be sticking to their principles of trying to produce a performance in the KBB NEFF Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final.
Atay and Kieron Dyer will oversee the club’s youngsters as they face Leiston in the last four of this season’s competition at Felixstowe & Walton United FC, kick-off 7.45pm.
Although he was not the U18s coach last season, Atay was in charge as they lost 2-1 to Leiston in last season’s quarter-final as Joe Jefford scored a 92nd minute winner.
He said: “We came very close to getting a result, but they scored a late winner. It was a great learning experience for our boys and we have now been drawn to play them again this season.
“We know there are a lot of boys in their team who have been part of our programme and Academy in the past, so they are familiar names on the team sheet, but we have not watched them.”
Although they have not competed every season, Ipswich have not reached the final of the Suffolk Premier Cup since a team containing both Pablo Counago and Lee Martin defeated Needham Market 4-1 in the 2009-10 season.
Atay said: “We approach every game with the mentality of wanting to win the game, but sticking to trying to produce a performance.
“It is a great opportunity and experience for our boys to play against men’s teams and different styles of football, so the mind-set does change slightly, but we still want to win every game that we are involved in.
“We really enjoy playing in the competition because it exposes our players to a different environment and adds to their development which is to progress them into the professional game.
“While we will not prioritise it, at the end of the day winning games is part and parcel of their development.
“Although it would be nice to get to the final, it is just another fixture. There will be a little bit of pressure playing in a semi-final, so it is an opportunity to experience what comes with that.”
The Ipswich Town Under-18 squad is pictured above.
KBB NEFF Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final: Felixstowe & Walton Utd v Stowmarket Town at Hadleigh Utd (7.45pm).
KBB NEFF Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final: Leiston v Ipswich Town at Felixstowe & Walton Utd (7.45pm).