RETAINING the KBB NEFF Suffolk Premier Cup would be a ‘perfect ending’ for three players who will be leaving Leiston after Wednesday’s final.
Leiston, who lifted the cup for the first time last season, face Felixstowe & Walton United in the final at Portman Road, kick-off 7.30pm.
A desperately disappointing end to the season saw Leiston fail to win any of their final 11 league games, drawing only three, to slide down the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central to 19th place – one above the relegation zone, albeit 11 points clear of the drop.
Manager Stuart Boardley said: “You are always concerned when you go through a period of time without winning a game and we have had a slump in form over the last couple of months, but Felixstowe suffered a similar vein of poor form in their last four matches.
“Part of our slump has been due to our focusing too far ahead to the final too much. We have been concentrating on it and working on it for some time now. We had a good training session on Thursday night and the players are fired up for it.”
The final will see long-serving duo Joe Jefford and Patrick Brothers make their swansongs along with Christy Finch. Brothers is returning to former club Brantham Athletic as assistant player-manager alongside brother and manager Michael, while Jefford and Finch are expected to drop down to lower-league clubs.
Boardley said: “Joe and Patrick, in particular, have been at the club a long time and been involved in promotions and cup finals, so to win the Premier Cup would be a perfect ending to a very successful time at Leiston for all three of them.”
Boardley, who ironically started the season as a Felixstowe & Walton United player before taking over the hot seat at Victory Road in late October, should have a full squad, with the exception of the cup-tied Josh Hitter, to select from, meaning some players will miss out.
He added: “There will be disappointed lads, but we all want to win it for the team, whether from the starting XI or the bench, and to retain the cup which is something Leiston have never done before.”
Admission to the final will be £12 for adults, £6 for concessions (over 65 or in full-time education) and £1 for children under the age of 12.
A souvenir programme, priced £1, will be on sale inside the ground.