COPLESTONIANS manager Ian Bristo is relishing the ‘unique’ occasion that awaits the club’s first appearance in a county cup final.
Bristo’s side face higher-league Ipswich Wanderers in the delayed 2019-20 CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Final on Tuesday, kick-off 7.30pm, at Humber Doucy Lane – the ground they share with their opponents.
This is the second season that Coplestonians have been tenants to landlords Wanderers, with both clubs embracing the idea of staging the final at their home ground.
Bristo said: “It is a unique situation and will certainly add to the occasion. Both clubs’ committees were fully behind the idea.
“In these unprecedented times we are lucky to be able to play the final at all, but it is not about where the final is played, people will remember who won it.
“The build-up has been very different to normal, when the final would be played at the end of the season, but times are different and we are really looking forward to it.
“It has made it more difficult as we have been playing league games around the semi-final and final with different players due to some not being eligible for the cup matches.
“But this is the first time in the club’s 47-year history that we have reached a county cup final.
“It is the pinnacle for our club and the likes of Wolf Powell and Dave Little, who founded the club together, plus Peter Whittaker, Pete Dawson and Tony Robinson, who have all devoted so much of their time to make it the community club it is today with a thriving Youth section.”
Matt Rutterford (right) and Coplestonians team-mate Jordan Godbold (background) will be key players for Coplestonians in the final against Ipswich Wanderers. Main photograph: Lewis Owen. Photographs: Amy Gilson
Britso is not concerned that his young players will be fazed by playing in what will be the biggest game in the club’s history.
“I don’t think the occasion will get to the players. If that was the case it would have happened against Crane Sports in the semi-final.
Cranes are the benchmark at our level, so we knew that would be an acid test for us,” he said.
Bristo acknowledged that former Lowestoft Town and Leiston winger Joe Francis will be a key player for Coplestonians.
“We are a predominantly young side and what Joe brings in terms of helping with game management is a huge help to us as well as his ability.
“We know we will be the underdogs, but we absolutely deserve to be there as we have beaten some good teams – Beccles Town, Needham Market Reserves, Debenham LC and Cranes – to reach the final.”
Kirk Ferniz, who has not so far played after spraining an ankle in pre-season, is included in the squad which contains three of the club’s former Under-18 players – Tom Fowler, Jordan Godbold and Matt Rutterford, who has returned after a spell at Leiston.
However, Coplestonians will be without three players who are cup-tied – Ben Golding, who joined last season from Henley Athletic, and summer signings Ryan Beeston and Sean Hanley (both Achilles).
Coplestonians squad: Harry Cole, Jack Dawson, Yani Duka, Kirk Ferniz, Tom Fowler, Joe Francis, Jordan Godbold, John Houchill, Dave King, Lewis Owen, Will Oxbrow, Matt Rutterford, James Sadler, Perrie Soanes, Ross Turner, Lee Willcox.
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